Poles lured into crime in Sweden

Some 100 people from Poland have been tricked into a life of crime in Sweden in the past year in the belief that they were being offered jobs in the country, Swedish media reported on Sunday.

The Poles have travelled to the southern Swedish city of Malmö after being offered jobs by a ring of human traffickers. On arrival they have been forced to hand over their passports and ordered to steal from shops, Swedish regional daily Sydsvenskan reported in its online edition.

Those who refuse to cooperate are often beaten, burned with lighters and locked away. Their clothes and passports are often confiscated, the paper said.

The Poles are forced to shoplift 10 or 20 times a day, stealing up to 1,000 kronor worth of articles at a time.

In the past week alone, Malmö district court heard five cases of Poles arrested for shoplifting who claimed to be victims of the trafficking ring, the paper said.

“These are shocked and upset people who have been tricked into coming here under the guise of a promise of a job. Instead they are put in a store and told to steal,” Poland’s vice-consul in Malmö, Rafal Mitold, told Sydsvenskan.

Polish authorities are aware of the problem and the government has posted warnings on its website.

“But the people most at risk probably don’t have access to Internet. So they can’t read the website,” Mitold said, explaining that the victims are often poor people or runaways.

According to the paper, the trafficking ring is organised by a handful of families in Malmö.

On March 10th, Swedish police arrested a 20-year-old believed to be one of the organisers. His trial is due to begin shortly.



Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.