Gangsters threatening shop owners at Stockholm mall

Criminal gangs have tried to blackmail shop owners and managers at one of the Stockholm area’s most popular shopping centres, according to employees at the mall.

Gangsters threatening shop owners at Stockholm mall

“The same gang has come to us three times in two months,” said an employee from the Kista Galleria mall, located north of Stockholm, to TV4.

The employee added that a colleague of his was punched for not giving the gang members money.

“He didn’t come back to work after that.”

The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, added that when he tried to intervene in the matter, he felt that one of the men had a bulletproof vest.

He wishes police would do more to counteract the problem.

“Just having police walk by means a lot. The police should be a bit tougher, then this wouldn’t have been any problem,” he said.

The head of Kista Galleria, Gunnar Mässing, said that the arrival of the gangs is a relatively recent phenomenon.

“They first turned up here in 2008. Tenants came to us and said that they were being bothered by organizations and people whom they felt threatened by,” Mässing told TV4.

Kista Galleria has about 50,000 visitors a day and an annual turnover of 2.2 billion kronor ($264 million).

Mässing said that, as of yet, mall management doesn’t know of any criminal gangs that have succeeded in establishing ties to the shopping centre’s stores.

Nevertheless he remains concerned that several stores remain vulnerable for extortion.

“The tenants who are the primary targets for these sorts of visits are restaurants, cafes, dry cleaners; that is to say, stores which have a high volume of cash transactions,” he said, adding that he has alerted tenants that mall management will do what it can to help them deal with the unwanted guests.

“We’re managing the situation with the utmost seriousness because we know what these types of organizations are capable of doing.”

But the mall employee remains concerned for his safety.

“Gangs are here all the time. I’m worried that they’ll be waiting for me in the garage or at home,” he said.


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.