Gun violence ‘most common’ in Malmö

Guns are three times more common in Malmö compared to Stockholm when it comes to reported killings and attempted killings, new figures show.

Gun violence 'most common' in Malmö

Guns are also twice as common in Malmö in comparison to Gothenburg for similar crimes, according to statistics from Sweden’s National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported.

The organization’s figures show that in 2011, firearms were used in 13 cases per 100,000 residents in Malmö, compared with four in Stockholm and six in Gothenburg.

The nationwide figure is two cases per 100,000 residents.

In addition, reported violent crimes involving firearms have more than doubled in Malmö in the last five years – the largest increase in the country.

Meanwhile, reported gun crimes have dropped by six percent in Stockholm over the same period, while in Gothenburg they’ve increased by about 30 percent.

Deputy police commissioner Hans Nordin told SvD that police are hard at work hunting for the perpetrators behind a spate of recent shootings, the latest of which claimed the life of a 48-year-old man on Tuesday night.

“We’ve deployed all the power and resources the Swedish police have. We’ve got what we asked for and are working hard on all these recent murders,” he told the paper.

So far around 200 officers are involved in the investigations into six murders which have taken place in Malmö since August 2011.

One of the main challenges, however, is an unwillingness of members of the pubilc to come to police and testify about crimes they may have witnessed.

“If people don’t tell us what they know, they have to accept that there are a group of people who can remain above the law,” Börje Sjöholm of the Skåne County police told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

The recent wave of gun violence in Malmö has even prompted Sweden’s YMCA scouting organziation to move its annual meeting from the city to nearby Ystad.

The gathering of roughly 100 scouts aged 15- to 25-years-old was supposed to be held at the Kroksbäck school in Malmö, but the deadly violence in the city made organizers reconsider their pans.

“There’s a general concern, a feeling that we didn’t want to be there. The area feels unpleasant. Ther’e a feeling of insecurity,” scouting official Lucas Lennartsson told the local Skånska Dagbladet newspaper.

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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.