• Sweden's news in English

Drunken Swedes choose knives to kill: study

TT/The Local/rm · 3 Oct 2011, 10:06

Published: 03 Oct 2011 10:06 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“This study is unique because it is the first time that a large amount of comparable data is available, making it possible to study deadly violence in three European countries,” said Sven Granath of Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå) in a statement.

The study, a collaboration between Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention, the National Research Institute of Legal Policy in Finland and the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology of Leiden university in the Netherlands, shows that in Sweden and Finland the ”average” killer is an inebriated man who kills by stabbing his victim on the spur of the moment.

In both Nordic countries, violence very much depends on the alcohol habits of the population.

The typical murder in both Finland and Sweden occurs when two male acquaintances or friends are sitting at home drinking.

Suddenly a fight erupts and one ends up dead. The average murder weapon of choice?

A kitchen knife.

“These murders have not been planned, they happen spontaneously. It really is just chance which dictates who ends up dead, “ said Johanna Hagstedt of Brå, who has worked on the international comparison study between Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

The study also shows, that in the Netherlands, by comparison, the murderers are sober and choose a gun over a blade.

“They have a different kind of gang criminality, which shows in their murder statistics,” Hagstedt said.

According to Hagstedt, murders in the Netherlands are also more likely to occur on the street, in the cities where gang life is common.

In Finland, on the other hand, most murders happen in the countryside.

Alcohol does not even show up in Dutch murder statistics. According to Hagstedt this means that alcohol is not as big a problem in the Netherlands.

However, there is Swedish research showing a clear connection between alcohol and murder over the last century.

Although there are differences between the three countries, there are also many similarities.

Story continues below…

Deadly violence is, for example, more likely to occur at night or at the weekend.

And the characteristics of both perpetrators and victims are also similar. To a large extent they are men, born within the country, and between ages 25 and 64.

The study is based on data collected from the three countries over four years and was funded by the EU.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:17 October 3, 2011 by Åskar
In America they have handguns. Here we have knives. Same, same but different.
11:58 October 3, 2011 by riose

In USA there is 5 times more murders per capita.

Is like comparing USA and Rwanda. Not the same thing.
12:57 October 3, 2011 by RobinHood

Usually, just over 30 000 people get shot to death in the US in any one year, half of them suicides, and about 13 000 murders. That puts death by gunshot in the top ten causes of death in the US. Incredibly, about 200 000 a year are injured, who consume billions of Dollars of healthcare budget every year.

I can't find the figures for death by knife in Sweden, but guess it's no more than a few dozen a year for murder, suicide and accidents combined. Not the same - very different.
15:53 October 3, 2011 by eppie
'''And the characteristics of both perpetrators and victims are also similar. To a large extent they are men, born within the country, and between ages 25 and 64. ''''

Whereas of course in Belgium most murderers fall in the group of females aged 4 to 12, while in France 80 % of murders is commited by gay immigrant men in their seventies, (as is common knowledge).
15:56 October 3, 2011 by Svensksmith
I wonder if the chopstick is the weapon of choice in China?
18:50 October 3, 2011 by BigDogRex

Not sure about your math in claiming U.S. homicide rate is 5x that of Sweden.

U.S. 2010 homicide rate (per 100,000): 4.8

Swedish 2010 homicide3 rate (per 100,000): 4.0

(Sources: FBI 2010 Uniform Crime Report; Brottförebyggande rådet, 2010)

Other interesting statistics (per 100,000):

Rape (forcible)

U.S.: 27 (figure comparable with BRÅ's; U.S. rate per 100,000 FEMALE population is 54)

Sweden: 64

Assault (battery in some jurisdictions), incl. agg. (per 100,000)

U.S.: 252

Sweden: 936
20:59 October 3, 2011 by burito
God job BigDog!What you gona say now-Blondies:)??Go.......USA!!!
21:29 October 3, 2011 by blursd
Well, I think it's clear the only way to solve this troubling problem is to completely ban all automatic and semi-automatic knives, and place a thirty day waiting period on all new knife purchases. That will solve the the problem.

Just remember ... knives don't kill people. People kill people ...
23:03 October 3, 2011 by Daveo
Right. A better reason for systembolaget to start with home delivery.
23:43 October 3, 2011 by roberzo

Automatic knives DO exist (they're so 80's...) and AFAIK are forbidden in every country of the EU.
18:58 October 6, 2011 by graceolsson
Who said to you that knives kill people?

The alchool is dangerous but ONLY who wants to drink alchool can be a drunk. No other way for it...so...the solution isn´t destroyer the knives...the solution is to EDUCATE PEOPLE...But it isn´t easy..Crazy people are everywhere, all over the world and when they want to kill a person, they can do it using a knive, wood, gun or...the teeth.

17:23 October 7, 2011 by Mr Varm Korv
So, in Sweden you are most likely to be murdered by a Swede and in Finland you are most likely to be murdered by a Finn? Brottsförebyggande with it's finger on the pulse of crime.

"Knives don't kill" ... true, but they do help.
05:34 October 8, 2011 by MitchT
The solution is obvious: First, outlaw alcohol, as was successfully done in the United States. Then send all the Swedes to Finland where they can't kill other Swedes and the Finns to Sweden where... Oh, wait...
23:52 October 10, 2011 by muscle
same in china!
Today's headlines
This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available