“Conflicts erupt over the criminal territories in the markets people are trying to enter, whether its drugs or extortion,” Klas Friberg of the Sweden’s National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen) told Sveriges Radio (SR).
Since the start of the year, there have been more than 20 shootings in Gothenburg and Malmö alone, many with clear connections to criminal gangs.
New measures to fight organised crime in Sweden have given police a more far-reaching picture of the problem.
In addition to conflicts between established gangs like the Outlaws, Hells Angels, and Bandidos, police have also seen a rise in new gangs based in the suburbs which have lead to increasing competition between the rival groups.
According to Friberg, the new gangs are ready to use “unproportionately extreme violence” to gain share of the criminal market.
Tension between criminal factions isn’t restricted to Sweden’s large cities either.
Håkan Stenbäck, a police chief in Linköping in central Sweden told SR that the situation in his city has changed “quite quickly” in the last year.
Police are now looking into what may lie behind the growth in suburban gangs in Sweden.
“In some way, I think that all of us in society need to think about how we raise young men,” said Friberg.