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CRIME

Man held in Sweden for new asylum murder

Police in Sweden arrested a man on Sunday on suspicion of stabbing a man to death during a brawl at an asylum centre, in the latest in a string of serious crimes linked to refugees.

Man held in Sweden for new asylum murder
As many as 25 policemen were called to the asylum centre in Ljusne. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/TT
According to Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, the man is suspected of attacking his victims after a conflict with another resident at the centre in Ljusne on Sweden's east coast, flew out of control on Saturday afternoon. 
 
He has also been charged with the attempted murder of three other men, all of whom were seriously injured in the fight. 
 
A further three men arrested on Saturday night have since been released, although they are all still viewed as suspects. 
 
“We believe that most of those involved are in their 20s,” Christer Nordström from the local Gävleborg police told Expressen.
 
“But several of them left the area before we got to there, so now we are now working to establish the identity of everyone involved and established who did what.” 
 
Police did not yet know what weapon had been used in the attacks, but said that the deceased and three injured had suffered stab wounds. 
 
According to Expressen, the brawl seems to have been triggered by some friends living at another asylum centre who had come to visit some of the residents. 
 
The newspaper reported that most, if not all of those involved in the fight were of Afghan origin. 
 
Between 20 and 25 police officers were called out to the centre on Saturday evening, by which time the three of the suspects had locked themselves in their rooms. 
 
Police on Sunday morning were still gathering additional interpreters to help them interview suspects, victims and witnesses. 
 
Nordström said the number of people involved in the attack as well as the language barrier meant it would take some time to establish what had taken place. 
 
Sweden's SvD newspaper at the end of last month released police statistics which showed that police had been called out to 5,000 incidents linked to asylum accommodation or other issues concerning refugees since mid-October.
 
The cases included 559 registered assaults, 450 fights, 194 cases of violent threats, 58 fires, two bomb threats, nine robberies and four rapes, all involving recently arrived asylum seekers. 
 
However, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper earlier this month put the figures in context, revealing that they accounted for less than one percent of all the crimes committed in the country over the period. 
 

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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