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CRIME

Acid attack sends eleven to hospital

Fumes from what police believe to be acid thrown into an apartment near Jönköping in central Sweden have sent 11 people to hospital.

In addition to the two people in the apartment at the time of the attack, two police officers and seven emergency workers also sought treatment for exposure to the substance, which authorities initially suspected to be hydrofluoric acid, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Initial reports had put the number of victims at 13, but the figure was adjusted downward to 11 later in the day on Wednesday.

Police are also less certain about the exact nature of the substance, admitting that they have no idea what the substance could be.

“They’re on their way here from emergency services in Gothenburg to do a quick test,” police inspector Lennart Wennblom told the TT news agency at lunchtime on Wednesday.

The attack took place around 2am in a the Öxnehaga residential area of Husqvarna outside of Jönköping.

According to police, five windows were broken and and the liquid was thrown into the apartment, but exactly how remains unclear.

The two people in the apartment at the time, both in their twenties, were awakened by the sound of breaking glass.

“When police and emergency services arrived on the scene they said it was a brownish liquid which immediately caused severe throat irritation,” said Jönköping police spokesperson Nils-Erik Eriksson to the TT news agency.

Everyone present in the apartment has been admitted to hospital for observation for the next 48 hours.

According to Wennblom, all the victims feel well and police continue to work on uncovering a motive for the attack.

Hydrofluoric acid is highly corrosive and can quickly penetrate skin, sometimes weakening bones underneath. It can also interfere with nerve functioning, sometimes delaying awareness of any developing chemical burns.

If it penetrates the blood stream, hydrofluoric acid can also cause cardiac arrest.

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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