Elof Hansjons, vice chairman of Södertälje municipality’s executive committee, cited crime statistics after 20 suspects were detained by the police a few years ago. Reported crime had fallen 26.5 percent, comparing the first half of 2013 with the first half of 2008.
“The Network had created a parallel structure, almost like a clan system, and the violence had become all the more extreme,” Hansjons told The Local, hours before Södertälje district court was due to hand down its verdict in the case.
A shoot-out against the local police station and a high-profile double homicide finally made county police react, and the state agencies already in place on the ground decided to play ball, Hansjons said.
“Criminal structures profit when the municipality and the police are too busy marking their territory, and placing their own prestige ahead of solving the problem,” Hansjons said. “But then the police dedicated a lot of resources, and concentrated those resources. The other authorities decided to back them up.”
The result was a cross-agency long-term sting against the mafia – involving not only police, but the tax authority, borders and customs, and social services to name but a few. Hansjons underlined that the cross-agency push continued to keep a tab on developments.
“Of course, breaking down this kind of organized criminal structure is a long-term task. Of course, sooner or later, we will have a setback,” Hansjons said.
Today, local authorities and police try to intervene early, sometimes with the help of child and teen psychologists, when a young person flirts dangerously with organized crime.
“The police have got a good grip on the kids in the danger zone. They put a lot of resources into intelligence work,” Hansjons said.