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CRIME

Police hunt would-be child strangler

Police in Trollhättan are hunting a man who attacked and tried to strangle an eight-year-old girl last Sunday, fearing that he might strike again.

The attacked occurred on Sunday July 12th in the Skogshöjden residential area of Trollhättan some time between 7.30pm and 9pm, according to media reports.

The eight-year-old girl, who had been playing with friends, was missing for an hour in nearby woods and police suspect that an unidentified man tried to strangle her.

“Her mother found her shocked with injuries to her face,” Stig Rysén with the Trollhättan police told the Expressen newspaper.

The young girl is also reported to have been missing some of her clothing when she was found. The items of clothing were later found in the woods.

The eight-year-old told police that after becoming separated from her friends she was approached by the man who attacked and attempted to strangle her.

“According to doctors she was near death. We’re convinced that something very serious has happened,” said country police officer Thord Haraldsson.

According to the girl’s mother this is not the first time children have been approached in the area.

“Several months ago a man approached my 10-year-old son, asked him his name and offered him sweets. My son’s 11-year-old cousin was also chased by a man,” Carla Gergi told Expressen

Trollhättan police confirmed that they are aware of the two separate incidents which occurred in April and May.

The neighbourhood is now living in fear of any further incidents while police conduct their investigations into the most recent attack, which has been classified as attempted murder.

“It is very unpleasant. I never let my 8-year-old go alone in the woods,” said local resident Camilla Johansson to the newspaper.

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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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