Thousands run for Swedish murder victim

Thousands of people have taken to to running tracks across Sweden in a show of solidarity after a young woman was found murdered in a recreational area in Upplands Väsby north of Stockholm.

Thousands run for Swedish murder victim
Thousands took part in a running campaign. Photo: Ulrika Säfström Sunnerfelt

The initiative was launched after a woman was found dead on a running track in Upplands Väsby last week – to show defiance in the face of fear after police branded her death suspicious and advised residents in the area to be careful when out running on their own.

“We're reclaiming the right to be able to run without being afraid,” Ulrika Säfström Sunnerfelt, one of the organizers behind the campaign, told Swedish newswire TT.

Around 20,000 people had joined the Facebook event saying they would go for a run on Sunday. Säfström Sunnerfelt herself ran around the Rocklunda trail in Västerås, some 80 kilometres from Upplands Väsby, together with around 70 people from all ages.

“It feels tragic that this is even needed. But I am incredibly happy that so many have chosen to be here to show that everyone has the right to move around freely in society,” she said.

And in Upplands Väsby around a hundred runners gathered to take part on Sunday in memory of the suspected murder victim, who lived in the town in central Sweden.

“Everyone I meet on the trail always ask me how I can be running alone, but I refuse to let myself be affected. It feels like we're honouring her by doing this together,” orienteering enthusiast Amanda Jonasson, 25, told the Aftonbladet tabloid.

Många hade sökt sig till Runbyspåret i Upplands Väsby kl 18.00. Så fint #SpringaMedKärlek (Foto: K Eidenbrant)

— Spring Med Kärlek (@SpringMedKarlek) August 9, 2015

The campaign, called 'Run With Love' ('Spring med kärlek') was organized after a 21-year-old woman was found dead at 2.05am on Thursday morning in the Runby area of the Stockholm suburb of Upplands Väsby by dog handlers.

Her family had reported her missing at 9.30pm on Wednesday when she did not come home after a short jog.

Meanwhile, police are still investigating the suspected murder. No arrests had yet been made as of Monday morning.

“We're continuing to work unabated, checking information received and awaiting answers to the forensic investigation,” said Stockholm police spokeswoman Eva Nilsson.


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.