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CRIME

Daytime shootings on the rise in Sweden: report

Criminals in Sweden are becoming more prone to firing gunshots in broad daylight, according to a new study, increasingly putting innocent passersby in harm's way.

Daytime shootings on the rise in Sweden: report

Gunfire in Sweden is no longer a phenomenon restricted to out of the way alleys in the cover of darkness.

To an ever greater extent, Swedish criminals are opening fire in the middle of the day and in places where there is an increased risk of innocent bystanders getting caught in the crossfire.

On Sunday evening, a young woman was nearly hit by a bullet unleashed during a shooting at a grocery store in Arlöv outside of Malmö that left a 16-year-old boy injured.

More than ten people were present at the time of the shooting, and witnesses reported several shots being fired.

In the last month, more than ten outdoor shootings targeting people have taken place in Sweden in the last month, with shots being fired in residential areas or in busy pedestrian areas.

Often, there have been many bystanders in the area, creating situations in which those beside the intended target are put at risk of being hit by stray bullet.

“It’s pure luck that no innocent people have been hurt. It’s going to happen sooner or later,” Lars Öjelind, a detective with the intelligence section of Sweden’s National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen) told the TT news agency.

A study by the National Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), which is based on 60 interviews with police officers in Malmö, Gothenburg, and Stockholm, supports the theory that there has been a change in criminal behaviour in Sweden.

“The impression police have is that shooting are far more reckless than previously,” Danial Vesterhav, a researcher with the crime prevention council, told TT.

Most often, shootings involve criminals opening fire against other criminals.

“It often involves rather mundane things; someone feeling like they’ve been insulted by someone else. In order to maintain their reputation, their prestige and not lose face in front of their friends, they need to carry out a reprisal,” said Vesterhav.

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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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