Researchers from Linneaus University compiled statistics which revealed that the number of murders or manslaughters committed in Sweden last year was 62 compared to 127 back in 1989.
Indeed, the 62 murders/manslaughters was the lowest homicides figure since the 1960s, according to statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådets statistik, Brå).
Sweden’s decreasing murder rate is in keeping with figures compiled for the rest of Europe. France, Germany and Italy have also had seen the amount of murders decrease by half since the mid 1990s. In Denmark the murder rate has decreased by a quarter in that same time period.
The study also looked at emergency room visits to Stockholm South General Hospital, finding that the number of people seeking treatment for injuries from street violence had declined by a third between 2007 and 2012.
While violent crime is decreasing in general, the study found, violence related to the activities of organized criminal gangs in on the rise.
According to crime researcher Sven Granath, the drop in violent crime has, paradoxically, occurred in the wake of a more liberal approach to alcohol in Sweden since the 1990s including relaxed rules for how much alcohol people could bring into the country for private consumption.
“Here we should have had a sharp increase in the number of assaults and murders. In fact it was on the contrary. The worst violence was down,” he told Dagens Nyheter (DN).
Another factor is that young people now spend more time interacting via social media and gaming, resulting in reduced alcohol consumption and violence.