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OFFBEAT

‘Stockholm Syndrome’ robber turned away by police

The police department in Helsingborg, southern Sweden, received an unexpected visitor on Tuesday. Swede Jan-Erik Olsson, known as the "Norrmalmstorg Robber," had stopped by to turn himself in.

Olsson is most famous for his involvment in a sensational 1973 bank robbery at the Norrmalmstorg square in central Stockholm. The phrase ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, referring to the phenomenon when a hostage becomes sympathetic to the causes of the hostage-taker, comes from events during this heist.

Olsson served time for this crime, but after his release, apparently carried on with unlawful activities. He had been wanted, both by Swedish and international authorities, for more than ten years for alleged financial crimes.

On Tuesday, Olsson decided to turn himself in. “I said that now I want to get rid of this baggage I’ve carried for almost 15 years.”

The guilt-ridden thief found needn’t have worried. Upon arriving at the police station on the west coast of Sweden, Olsson was at first encouraged to stay on the run by a policeman.

“When I came to the police on Tuesday, there was cop who said, ‘Take off Janne. You’re wanted,'” Olsson said, according to Dagens Nyheter’s website.

Then, after not accepting the advice and officially turning himself in, Olsson learned that authorities had dropped his case.

“He wanted to confess, but the prosecutor has decided to not pursue the charges of financial crimes since it was so long ago,” police spokesman Lars Forsell said.

No charges will be filed against Olsson, who travelled from Thailand to turn himself in. While in town, Olsson also visited the Swedish tax authorities, where he ordered a new passport and set up an account to receive his pension.

“I turn 65 this year,” Olsson said.

CRIME

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.

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