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Immigrants behind 25% of Swedish crime

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16:07 CET+01:00
Immigrants in Sweden are four times more likely to be investigated for lethal violence and robbery than persons born in Sweden to Swedish parents, the National Council for Crime Prevention said on Wednesday.

In a report studying 4.4 million Swedes between the ages of 15 and 51 during the period 1997-2001, the council found that immigrants were overrepresented in Sweden's crime statistics.

Immigrants were also three times more likely to be investigated for assault and five times more likely to be investigated for sex crimes.

The report is based on statistics for those "suspected" of offences for reasons of comparison, but Stina Holmberg of the Council for Crime Prevention said that there was "little difference" in the statistics for those suspected of crimes and those actually convicted.

The study underlined that the majority of crimes in Sweden were committed by ethnic Swedes.

"Slightly under 60 percent of the almost 1,520,000 offences ... registered during the period covered by the study can be attributed to persons who were born in Sweden to two Swedish-born parents," it said.

One quarter were committed by people born overseas, while almost 20 percent were committed by those born in Sweden to one or two parents born abroad.

Among foreigners suspected of offences, those from North Africa and Western Asia were overrepresented.

"The factor that distinguishes the areas whose immigrants are suspected of offences in Sweden to a particularly large extent is that the living conditions in these areas are unlike those in the western world," the authors wrote.

Compared with the council's previous major study on immigrants and crime covering the years 1985-1989, "the picture that emerges is relatively unchanged", a fact that it said was "remarkable given the changes that have occurred in Swedish society during the 1990s".

More than 300,000 immigrants, mostly refugees, have moved to Sweden since the late 1980s, and the situation on the labour market worsened and segregation in the housing sector has increased, the effects of which "have been particularly negative for immigrants".

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AFP

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