Upbringing not culture affects criminality: study

Differences in crime statistics between immigrants and those born in Sweden can be explained by socio-economic factors in childhood and has nothing to do with culture or race, a new Swedish study has shown.

The study by researchers at Stockholm University shows that any differences disappear when a comparison is made between Swedes and immigrants who were brought up in similar socio-economic conditions.

“The differences do not depend on ‘immigrant cultures’ being more inclined to crime or some such. Instead the most decisive factor is the conditions immigrants live under in Sweden and if they can acquire the resources which are necessary to live a comfortable life,” one of the researchers Jerzy Sarnecki told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

The study shows that when controlled for factors such as parents’ education, employment and income then the differences for the most part disappear between those born in Sweden and those born overseas or with foreign-born parents.

Sarnecki explained that the most important factor is that immigrants are able to find a job when they arrive in Sweden.

“Then their children will be much better off,” he said.

The slight differences which do remain in the crime statistics could perhaps be explained by discrimination within the justice system, Sarnecki said.

The research team has mapped the lives of 66,300 people who left school 1990-1993 until 2005. Criminal histories have been compared to socio-economic conditions experienced during childhood.

There is furthermore no scientific evidence to suggest that differences in criminal behaviour can be linked to countries of origin.

“That criminal behaviour within various immigrant groups could be explained by cultural differences is something we can dismiss entirely,” Jerzy Sarnecki said.

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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.