Gang rivalry leading to more violence: police

An increase in the number of criminal gangs in Sweden is behind a rise in violent crime in the last two years, according to police.

Gang rivalry leading to more violence: police
Police on the scene of a May 11 shooting in Malmö thought to be gang related

“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.

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime