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.