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CRIME

Police chief aims to save boys from life of crime

Stockholm county police chief Carin Götblad has recommended the creation of special municipal task forces to coordinate efforts from police, schools and social services to steer Sweden's youth away from criminality.

Police chief aims to save boys from life of crime

“I suggest that the key actors – social services, schools and the police – are given a legal responsibility to support the parents of young people,” Götblad, who is leading a state inquiry into the matter, wrote in an article in Dagens Nyheter on Wednesday.

The Stockholm police chief has been tasked with developing ways to identify young people in the risk zone and to propose strategies to prevent their recruitment into criminal networks.

There are around 5,000 young people in Sweden who are considered to constitute the recruitment pool for criminal groups, Götblad said. The group is primarily made up of boys living in deprived residential areas in the major cities.

“We have a lot of knowledge about the backgrounds and risk factors around young people who develop a criminal lifestyle. It primarily concerns boys and young men living marginalized in the most deprived areas,” Götblad wrote.

Resources should be focused on these groups, for the sake of the boys, but also “for a safer society,” the police chief urged.

Götblad has also suggested the creation of Projekt Pojke (Project Boy) to address social problems, psychological ill health and stereotyped gender roles among young men and boys.

“These boys are particularly vulnerable. Schools are not formed according to their needs and there is today almost no labour market for young, uneducated men,” she said.

Projekt Pojke would offer work experience and free-time activities and work to change values and attitudes that encourage criminal activity, the police chief said, adding that companies and the business community should be encouraged to become involved.

Karin Götblad proposed that the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) should be tasked with, in collaboration with other bodies, produce a manual for developing a systematic method for identifying exposed groups and for leading individuals away from a life of crime.

According to Brå statistics, men account for 80 percent of those suspected of crimes.

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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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