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CRIME

Police solve six percent of Sweden’s crimes

Nearly 95 percent of violent crimes and robberies committed in Sweden go unsolved, and an individual police officer solves an average of three crimes per year, according to a recent analysis.

Police solve six percent of Sweden's crimes

Research carried out by TV4’s Kalla Fakta (‘Cold Facts’) investigative news programme also revealed that violent crimes and robberies make up about 75 percent of all crimes reported in Sweden.

Overall, one in seven Swedes was the victim of a crime in 2007

And of the approximately 900,000 crimes reported last year, police solved only 5.8 percent.

“There is often very little of value to work with. When it comes to theft, there are no witnesses, and victims often don’t know when the crime occurred. There’s really not much to go on and that obviously makes it hard to solve crimes,” said national police chief Bengt Svenson to TV4.

Over the last three years, the number of solved crimes has been decreasing for all crimes except drug and traffic offences, when perpetrators are most often caught in the act.

“It’s a little like a lottery unfortunately. You can have good luck or bad luck as to whether you get the right police officer, depending on whether you are a criminal or a victim,” said researcher Stefan Holgersson.

For justice minister Beatrice Ask, the figures are an unpleasant development for a government for which crime reduction was an important election promise.

While the government has promised to have 20,000 police on the street by 2010, Ask remains concerned about the prevailing culture in Sweden’s law enforcement community.

“I think it has to do with the culture, the idea that there is simply nothing that can be done. Sometimes it may be due to procedural shortcomings. It can sometimes be that people have bad luck. But sometimes it’s also because it’s genuinely hard to investigate a case,” she said.

Regardless, however, Ask said the figures were “frighteningly” high and that Swedish police could probably do a better job of clearing things up in many cases.

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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