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CRIME

Swedish girl gang targets elderly single men

After a spate of robberies by a gang of young women in Västerås in central Sweden, police have issued a warning to single elderly men to be on their guard.

The women gain entry to the men’s apartments by feigning a need to use the phone or desperate for the men to give them a lift home.

“Single and elderly men are probably a group that it is easy to approach. Many are probably a bit lonely,” Börje Strömberg at Västerås police told the local Vestmanlands Läns Tidning (VLT) daily.

All of the women are reported to be in their early or mid-twenties. As they leave the victims’ flats valuables are found to be missing.

According to Strömberg, the older generation are more trusting than younger people.

“We have seen that older people are more likely to let strangers into their flats. Of course one should be helpful to people but one has to be careful,“ Strömberg told VLT.

In March a 78-year-old man let two women into his flat under the pretext that they needed to borrow his phone. When they left, the man found that he was missing 12,000 kronor ($1,913).

According to Strömberg, these kinds of thefts are not that common in Sweden.

“But there could be a large number of unreported cases. Crimes like these come and go. Some groups travel around robbing people like this and when they are found out they just move on somewhere else,” said Strömberg.

Some of the descriptions of the perpetrators lead police to believe that it is a gang of young women that prey on the men, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

But with no leads as to who these women are the police have issued a warning to the public to be careful who they let in.

“Having a security chain on your door can sometimes be as important as having a fire alarm,” Strömberg told VLT.

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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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