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.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime