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CRIME

Police identify key names behind Swedish organised crime

Swedish police have pinpointed 100 'particularly interesting' people in the fight against organised crime.

A number of authorities are working with the police to identify these key players in Sweden’s crime networks. As well as the prosecution office, the Tax Board, Customs and the Economic Crimes Bureau have contributed to the intelligence gathering, according to Göteborgs-Posten.

The police have set aside up to 120 million kronor for coordinating national operations against organised crime and several suspects have already been arrested as part of an increased effort.

Suspects have been seized across the whole of Sweden but most are from Stockholm, Skåne and Västra Götaland.

All of those on the list are thought to have played crucial roles in crimes which will earn them a minimum of two years in prison.

Around half of them are linked to established motorcycle gangs and the rest are part of other known groups.

“These are serious criminals,” said the temporary head of the National Criminal Investigation Department, Peter Tjäder.

The list of criminals has already changed as a result of arrests and police hope that the number of people on it will decline as organised crime declines.

Tjäder said that the networks were large, and that every person on the list has 20-30 criminal contacts.

The general director of Sweden’s Customs, Karin Starrin, said that the various agencies have been coordinating their work for some years.

“There’s no major investment or project just now – it’s rather a focus of our whole operation planning,” she said.

“The cooperation with the other organisations is about building up analysis and intelligence – anything to be able to strike at these well-planned groups with arrests and seizures.”

According to Starrin it is hard to say precisely how many people Customs is monitoring.

“But during 2005 we managed to get between 15 and 20 gangs who were supplying drugs to Sweden,” she said.

Starrin said that the networks had their roots in the Baltic, eastern Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the world.

There are no official statistics available for 2006.

“But we have been at least as successful,” said Starrin.

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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