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Sweden starts 2010 in typically messy fashion

TT/Stuart Roberts · 1 Jan 2010, 09:50

Published: 01 Jan 2010 09:50 GMT+01:00

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But in Sweden’s three largest cities, police reported that the night and early morning were relatively calm.

It was a relatively typical start to the new year, according Johan Ljung, officer in charge of Västra Götaland’s Police.

“We were getting calls constantly, and there were many fights and a lot of drunkenness. Since it is so cold, we have to work hard to try to take care of all those who get stuck in the snow and the like,” he told the TT news agency.

Stockholm police duty officer Inger Qvennerstedt also thought the night had been relatively calm.

“There is a lot of drunkenness, assault, fires and people who have been injured with knives and firearms. But these have not led to more serious incidents than usual, and as far as we know, no one has been seriously injured,” she told TT.

By Friday morning Qvennerstedt could look back on more than 700 incidents that occurred within the space of four hours.

“It is a lot, and we have had a lot to do throughout the night and the morning,” she reported.

The same story was reported by Anders Nilsson of the Skåne police in Blekinge in southern Sweden.

Between 9pm on New Year’s Eve and 4:30am on New Year’s Day, the police had registered nearly 600 incidents, including 19 people taken into custody and 62 arrests.

While Skåne as a whole remained relatively calm, there were many arrests for drunkenness in Kalmar in the country's far south, according to police.

“Our patrols are not finished yet,” said police spokesperson Mikael Kaiser.

Two men were also assaulted in separate incidents in Kalmar. Both men received serious facial lacerations and were hospitalized. In one of the cases, involving an assault with a broken bottle outside a bakery, a suspect was apprehended.

According to Johan Ljung of the Västra Götaland police in west central Sweden, the start of the New Year had kept him busy.

More than 300 incidents had been reported between midnight and 5am, including the arrest of a man suspected of raping a woman at a restaurant in central Gothenburg.

Numerous other cases of assault, robbery and other violence were reported around the country, including the arrest of a 22-year-old man in Karlstad, after two young women reported that they had been raped at a private party.

A number of fire-related incidents also occurred in the first hours of the new year.

In Vimmerby in south central Sweden ten people lost their homes after a fire broke out in an apartment block. And just outside Jönköping four people were taken to hospital after a New Year’s rocket set fire to a balcony. None of the four were seriously injured.

Story continues below…

In Norrköping, however, a seven-year-old boy was admitted to hospital with eye injuries following another rocket-related accident.

The frigid conditions may also have contributed to a number of serious car accidents around the country on New Year’s Eve.

In Hallstahammar, west of Stockholm, a 60-year-old woman was killed when two vehicles collided head-on on the motorway 252. The cause of the collision is not yet known. A further two people – a 63-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman – received serious injuries in the accident, and were rushed to hospital, according to Ann-Charlotte Israelsson, from the Västmanland’s police.

There was another serious car accident In Gunnarskog in Värmland in central Sweden, where a car careered into a tree, and a man was rushed, unconscious, to Arvika Hospital in a serious condition.

TT/Stuart Roberts (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:00 January 1, 2010 by Plowbridge
TL starts 2010 in typically amateurish fashion. What a terrible headline.
12:28 January 1, 2010 by StockholmSam
Keep fireworks out of the hands of seven-year-olds, people! How much clearer does it have to be?
12:35 January 1, 2010 by xenyasai
I do not think this is unique to Sweden. Take a trip to Amsterdam and you will be more or less dodging fireworks the whole night; if you survive it.

@StockholmSam: Seven-year-olds? What about those who are legally old enough to buy fireworks, but can not act responsible? I think they are a much greater problem.
13:33 January 1, 2010 by foxpur
I would call this common for basic crime, but NOT for fire rescue and damage from fireworks. There were no serious injuries - which is unusual. So this is to me an improvement.
13:46 January 1, 2010 by kenny8076
the biggest thing to me out of all this is the rapes...... i have travelled to many parts of the world and as far as industrialized and civilized countrys i have been to sweden is by far the worst when it comes to rapes. it seems everytime i come on this site its talking about someone beeing raped or gangraped and how they will serve a few months or a couple years in prison,which is completly third world. Im not sure why, i moved here with my swedish girlfriend and i always point out to her how women dress here. Dont get me wrong it is sexy and the women beautiful, but switch locations and they are hookers in the states. No matter where you go i.e. the mall, dinner, night club, school, fika....... you will see tons of women in a typical swedish outfit..... Knee high boots, tights, and a skirt that just barely keeps the butt cheeks up. I dont know how many countless times i have pointed out to my girlfriend when they sit down you can see there crotches and butts...... Not saying this is excuse for rape but it surely cant help when the predator is running around looking for a pray!!
14:12 January 1, 2010 by diegoveggie
it's fair to say that swedes dont know how to drink. a couple of glasses and they start fights and start raping people..,

i think the locals headline is pretty accurate. new year night is the one night when the law and basic rules of civilization don't seem to apply
14:22 January 1, 2010 by rowdyeyes
As far my experience concern in stockholm, the problem is not with dressings or motives for rapes or no one in sweden put steps out of house to look for a prey of rape. It happens mostly in parties when guys n girls get drunk and later in night some drunk will put a hand on some chick and in morning girl realise she is been raped. I am not a judge but as says in an old quote "you can't blame the lion for eating goat because its inevitable".
14:49 January 1, 2010 by Bensonradar
Can't understand this, as the Swedish people I met are well-behaved and decent. As alcohol is rationed in the Systembolaget, this may be a major cause for the binge-drinking and bad behaviour.

I feel Swedish people are lucky, even if the Swedish author Henning Mankell feels your society is becoming more aggressive.

However, I do notice that many Swedes I meet are very formal and worried about the impression they make to strangers. Suggest you loosen up a bit.
15:51 January 1, 2010 by texasgubbar
'I dont know how many countless times i have pointed out to my girlfriend when they sit down you can see there crotches and butts...... '

LOL!!!! I would be in the hospital if I pointed out to my wife that I could see another womans butt and crotch.
17:40 January 1, 2010 by lingonberrie
New Year's ever(s):Embarrassments to their countries and the provenance of fools.

Predictable and lamentable.
17:44 January 1, 2010 by Suntiger

Nah, it's not Systembolaget that cause the binge drinking. We've done that since at least 950AD or so.

In fact one of the reasons for Systembolaget is that in the early 19th century the consumption of alcohol rose to such alarming proportions (from about 5 liters 50% aquavit (or equivalent) per person and year to *40 liters* per person and year) in the 1820s.

A significant part of the nation was literally and without exaggerating drinking itself to death. In no small part because sometimes workers were paid in aquavit.

Hence the strong reaction of people who didn't drink or drank moderately; what became the Temperance movement.

Anyway, yes, the booze is a major reason for the large number of events like fireworks injuries, rapes, assaults and similar, but it's not the fault of Systembolaget.
18:31 January 1, 2010 by amirhosein
Surprising to know that!

Thanks for information.

P.s. I am an international (middle-eastern) student, in Gothenburg, and even now after four months of living in Sweden, I have difficulties understanding the Swedes' behavior and attitude. I wish there were more books and/or information on this subject.

People, in general, do not seem to be that warm-hearted, and welcoming. Maybe it is me, or my hair colour.
18:51 January 1, 2010 by peropaco
@amirhosein. Swedes are your best friend when they are drunk. They open up their mouths like hungry horses drooling over dry hay. Here is a little inside guide though I dont think it will help much to understand their behaviour. Xenophobe's guide to the Swedes
19:51 January 1, 2010 by vladd777
So happy to report that i enjoyed a very peace-filled and pleasant Christmas and New Year in the same 'messy' country!

I enjoyed wine and whisky and and ate well and enuff so not even a sign of a hangover.

We even had fireworks around about but not 'till överdrift' there either.

Even my daughter, who celebrated in Stockholm, said things were calm.

Just depends on the company one keeps.

Wishing the editorial staff and all readers of The Local a prosperous and healthy 2010.
20:27 January 1, 2010 by moaca
partying and drinking on new years eve is done all over the world. Luckily despite the incidents, it does not seem that many people were severly injured. All of us with half a brain know that where alcohol is involved things can go wrong. To much alcohol and a persons judgement is out the window. Whether it regards sex or violence. People lose their barriers and do things they would normally not dream of doing.

This is all thanks to the intoxinating effects of to much alcohol. Dont get me wrong, I like a glass of wine as well, but have the common sense to stop when I feel I start getting intoxinated. We all know our limits but to many of us chose to ignore the signals as the goal is to get drunk, full stop.

With regards to rape, women are getting raped everywhere. Its just that in Sweden if a woman reports being raped she might be taken serious, whilst in many other countries she will be treated as if she asked for it. Dresscodes have gone out the window in every western european country. Most UK women dress like slags when they are out on the town, the more flesh the better.

And as far as sex against your will is concerned, I can only suggest to all dumb women everywhere to make sure they dont get to drunk so they know what they are doing and stop teasing guys just because they think they can because they are drunk!!

We are all responsible for our own actions so we all have to take responsibility for getting in to situations that can get out of hand. Blaming to be drunk is no excuse whatsoever. Not for rape, nor for getting raped (if that was the case).

It is commonly known that most rapes occur by people the victim know, seldom by a complete stranger hiding in the bushes.

So stop drinking like a lulu, stop teasing guys or suggesting something you do not want to anticipate in and use your common sense. And put some clothes on for Pete's sake. At least a pair of knickers in the cold is highly recommended. Wearing a short skirt with a string underneath at 0 dgr temperatures only shows that as a woman you are showing low intelligence. (And the guys know this, if you have virtually no clothes on then there is not much of a barriere, is there?).
21:20 January 1, 2010 by Kaethar
@amirhosein: Don't listen to peropaco - he's a Sweden-hater. Fact of the matter is that what you are experiencing is a culture shock. You can't expect all cultures in the world to be the same. Swedes don't express themselves the way Middle Easterners do. Finding a book to read sounds like a good idea.
01:13 January 2, 2010 by peropaco
@Kaethar, Seems that anyone expressing an unpopular opinion is a Swedish-hater eh? How alarming is that ;-)

@amirhosein, Swedes don't express themselves like any other group of people you will ever meet. They need the booze in order to practise their communication eloquence. They lack the ability to say thank you, answer to simple and basic human greetings like good morning, they step on you and pretend not to notice and the list runs long.

@moaca, are you suggesting it is the woman fault if she gets rape because of her way of dressing?
03:46 January 2, 2010 by Gypsy Rover

Anything stronger than coffee and cream cakes and they fall out of their trees......LOL.
08:57 January 2, 2010 by J.Darling
Lately I have been planning a trip to visit Sweden. I go on the internet and look at all the gorgeous pictures of castles, scenery and beautiful smiling people. I can't wait, until I find The Local.se. Then I read about rapes, rapes, rapes. I am single and female and wonder if Sweden is a place where I can visit on my own? I have some serious concerns especially after having read some of the comments on this article regarding the rapes.

1) Rape is NEVER about what a girl/woman is wearing, it is about violence pure and simple. It happens to men, children, woman of all ages (babies have been raped, woman over 80 have been raped, woman wearing Burka's have been raped etc.) and people dressed in all different states. It is against the law and is therefore illegal regardless of the reason the perpetrators give for their actions. In the same way that even if you left your home un-locked, no one can come in and take your things without being charged with stealing; you cannot claim rape is somehow the victim's fault in any case. Here's a link to help you with the most common myths about rape http://www.womanabuseprevention.com/html/sexual_assault.html

2) Rape has been used to terrorize and control woman for… well…forever (Vikings did it) and is often used by groups in situations of war and other conflicts to instill fear or control how a person acts, what they wear, where they can walk etc..

3) Yes rapes happen everywhere, but the reports I've been reading are truly shocking. A woman is raped in a restaurant? How? Where? Where were the other customers? A young woman (16) is gang raped repeatedly in a washroom in a pub? I'd like to know more details to understand how this is possible. Are there particular areas where this is happening?

4) The sentencing or lack thereof i.e a man removes the clothing of a minor (lifts her skirt) takes photographs of her genitals and isn't even charged? Surely you can't blame that on immigrants? In Canada he would have been charged with producing child pornography AND anyone viewing the photos would also have been charged. It is nobody's business if she was wearing underwear or not. She had a skirt on; we are all naked under our clothes.

5) Apparently only 10% of rapist are caught in Sweden and the incident is 4 times higher then any other European country and when they are caught the sentencing seems extremely lenient towards the perpetrator.

On a philosophical note I wonder how bad it needs to get before the people of Sweden begin to take action? On a personal note I can't help but wonder if this is a safe country for a single female to visit? I mean, if you can be raped in a restaurant I guess anything is possible? Also I'm wondering if pepper spray is legal in Sweden? We have a really potent variety we use for bears, sounds like it could be useful over there.
09:08 January 2, 2010 by VegasBaby
Sweden is a beautiful place with wonderful people (immigrant and native born). Those who commit crimes are such a small number, but news like this makes it seem otherwise.

As a resident of Sweden for a couple of years, I saw first hand how the Swedish people take pride in having a clean, safe country.

I grew up in small town USA where everyone says "hi". When I moved to Sweden, Swedes thought I was a crazy when I said hej. Later, I learned, (from Swedish people) that Swedes are more reserved at first, but once you get to know them they are your friends for life. Sweden is my adopted home country. Don't let a few people paint Sweden with broad brush strokes.
09:12 January 2, 2010 by Rick Methven

"Swedes don't express themselves like any other group of people you will ever meet. They need the booze in order to practise their communication eloquence. They lack the ability to say thank you, answer to simple and basic human greetings like good morning, they step on you and pretend not to notice and the list runs long."

Whereas I can find individual Swedes, that I have met in my 30 years here, that fit your stereotype, you can not say that your stereotype applies to ALL Swedes. I have met such people in my native UK and in the 85 countries that I lived, in or visited around the world.

I have also met Swedes and others who are articulate when sober, friendly, warm and open (I have been married to one such Swede for 29 years)
09:16 January 2, 2010 by spy

Rape is a terrible but it is important to remember that an accusation does not always equal a crime and there is an increasing trend of younger women crying rape incorrectly. Bearing this in mind the figures are skewed.

I would say Sweden is pretty safe for a single female to visit - most Swedish men are breast-feeding sissies so you should not need the pepper spray.
09:30 January 2, 2010 by brøklyn_bjorn
This kind of frat-boy behavior happens in the US, UK, France, etc. I don't see the significance of the headline. I agree with Plowbridge, it's rather amateurish of The Local.

Couldn't they have reported on something more uplifting such as the number of New Year's day babies that were born around the country?
11:01 January 2, 2010 by Redboi
Title takes its context directly from police officer quotes, the first in particular. SR
12:08 January 2, 2010 by brainsanity
I'm from the Netherlands and the numbers mentioned in this article would be very positive here. I know we have around 1.5x more inhabitants here but last new years eve over 400 people were arrested. If we would have 62 arrestants our politicians would be dancing on the tables. I have been to Sweden a couple of times now and it does feel more safe than the Netherlands. I think Sweden would've done a great job when you compare these number to the rest of Europe.
15:43 January 2, 2010 by Mox Mox The Manburner
Peropco: "Swedes don't express themselves like any other group of people you will ever meet. They need the booze in order to practise their communication eloquence. They lack the ability to say thank you, answer to simple and basic human greetings like good morning, they step on you and pretend not to notice and the list runs long."

Rick methven: "Whereas I can find individual Swedes, that I have met in my 30 years here, that fit your stereotype, you can not say that your stereotype applies to ALL Swedes. I have met such people in my native UK and in the 85 countries that I lived, in or visited around the world."

"I have also met Swedes and others who are articulate when sober, friendly, warm and open (I have been married to one such Swede for 29 years)"

Rick Methven, do you realize what you´re doing here? You are trying to deprive peropco of the one scapegoat that he has on which he can vent his own personal frustrations - and blame his own failings as a human being - on.

Please, this is a new year: we must be kind to the less fortunate such as him.

The mind boggles at the thought of how miserable his own personal life must be for him to indulge in such constant need to express hatred. He needs a hobby.
22:36 January 2, 2010 by amirhosein
@peropaco: Thanks for the book name. I have read it. and I'm starting another book called "The Swedish Code: What makes the Swedish so Swedish?". and I hope I'll be able to feel comfortable around them a couple of months later. For now, I'm confused for most of the time, and rarely sometimes laughing.

@Kaethar: You're right, I'm in a culture shock. What's even worse, is that, people in Greece were rather opposite. Though, I was shocked there, too, watching their open manners in night clubs.

I'm starting to wonder if animals, in general, ignore the presence of others of their species. After all, I think we're merely more than verbal social animals.

@Rick Methven: Glad to hear that people "who are articulate when sober, friendly, warm and open" live in our neighborhood. Would you pinpoint where I might get the chance to meet them?

@Mox Mox The Manburner: That is very kind of you. NOT.
18:01 January 3, 2010 by Rick Methven

from your photo, you seem to be about 40 years younger than me and do not live in "my neighbourhood", so I can not really advise you. My 25 year old son has such Friends in "your neighbourhood"

There are all types in all places just open your eyes and you can find them
20:39 January 3, 2010 by moaca
just to clear any confusion, rape is indeed an act of violence and domination. It is also an act of lust. I am only concerned that often rape can be avoided by using your common sense when going out. An entirly different matter is of course the abuse of childeren, older people etc. This is a different category of rape all together and just as vile.

I was mearly pointing out the section of rape occurring when being on a party somewhere or out on the town being skimpy dressed. YES, as a woman you should be able to dress as you please, but we all know that when women have to much to drink they do get over confident and this can easily lead to trouble.

This was my only point with regards to dressing to go out in combination with to much alcohol. And I still think that not more people are getting raped in Sweden, they are just being taken more serious then in other countries.

In countries where you have to wear a burka or other face covering things, as a woman you are often nothing more then the property of the man you have married. They dont stand a chance, now do they? There are no rights for women there, just look at how women are being treated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Irak, Iran, and frankly the majority of third world countries. I am a Swedish woman living and working in the UK.

With my line of work i regularly put men back in line as they think they can take liberties. Most men do not expect a female being able to either defend herself or stand up for herself. And no, I am not a lesbian or anything. Just a middle aged woman who finally has realised her own values and is no longer afraid to stand up for herself. I only feel priviliged to be in a position where I am in charge of my own life now. God knows that most women are not and I really feel for them.

We have a long way to go as a human race before both men and women realise we are no more and no less then each other. Once this is accepted the world will be a much better place. Equality rules!

I do agree that some jobs are not suitable for women if they are physically demanding. Men have more muscle tissue then us and are on average strong. We are betting in multitasking. The male and female are designed to complete each other, not to dominate the other one. One day the whole world will realise this. Respect!
14:56 January 4, 2010 by legalizeit
Weed is the answer people, you never hear about anyone losing it fighting, violence and rapes when people are stoned, thats the evil effects of alcohol, and yet one is legal and the other is treated like Heroin in Sweden??
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