An uncommonly calm Valborg

An uncommonly calm Valborg
Beefed up security efforts on Valborgsmässoafton – Walpurgis Night – paid off this year. Police and parents on patrol, piles of confiscated liquor and teenagers escorted home resulted in a Valborg without major incident.

A little messy, fairly decent, little bit worse than a normal weekend night were the descriptions given by Swedish police authorities around the country early this morning.

And regarding their own efforts, they were even more positive.

“We did a good job,” said Pia Persson, commander on duty on Gotland.

“There were a lot of people out, we have confiscated a lot of liquor, but we avoided bar brawls, fistfights and drunken confrontations.”

In Östersund, police reported a “positive vibe around town.”

In other parts of the country, there were assaults and drunkenness and people were taken into custody to sober up, but police were nevertheless satisfied that no major incidents had occurred.

In Barkaby, north of Stockholm, police fired a warning shot into the air when a field assistant received a death threat, and police were bombarded by beer cans by a large gang of youths. No one was injured, and no arrests were made.

In several counties, bonfires were banned, which removed natural gathering spots, and consequently, opportunities for fights. However, in Västerbotten county in northern Sweden, a house caught fire and burned to the ground.

Kronoberg in southern Sweden, which celebrated a relatively calm Walpurgis Night last year, saw five assaults, one aggravated assult and a whole lot of intoxicated teenagers, despite the now famous “Kronoberg model,” which has been implemented by many other counties.

It involves rigid monitoring of underage youth with liquor, immediate seizure, followup with parents and an intensive search for pushers. The model has been in place for three years, and Kronoberg police have travelled to other districts and explained their working methods.

An evaluation by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has shown that the model works. Both violence and youth drinking have decreased – and not just on Valborg.

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