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How Sweden hopes to stop car burnings

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How Sweden hopes to stop car burnings
Firefighters at work in Malmö on Monday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
16:23 CEST+02:00
Sweden's government has vowed to clamp down on criminals who set fire to cars after nine consecutive nights of car fires in Malmö and other parts of the country.

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told a press conference on Wednesday that Sweden wanted to make it easier to punish the perpetrators, as well as dishing out tougher punishments. 

“What's clear is that we have to speed up the judicial process in some cases,” he told reporters. 

The government said it would examine the possibility of expediting convictions for people found burning cars. It would also consider setting up special courts to speed up the processing of car-fire cases. 

It also wants vandalism to be put on a par with theft. 

“For individuals it's just as bad to have your car set on fire as to have it stolen. It might even be worse to have it set on fire,” said Johansson. 

The government also wants to make it easier to erect surveillance cameras in certain areas. 

“We think this can have a preventive effect. But primarily it makes it easier to investigate crimes.” 

Speaking earlier in the day, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that more police officers would be posted to the areas worst affected by the recent spate of car burnings. 

“We'll do all we can. No government can promise that all crime will disappear, but we are already tackling this. We will strengthen police resources, for example, but more is needed.”

Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said it was “unacceptable” that police and rescue services risked coming under attack. The government is looking into toughening sentencing for crimes perpetrated against these groups .

“The insecurity and risks faced by residents in vulnerable areas most be counteracted in every possible way,” Ygeman added. 

The government also wants to oblige minors who repeatedly commit offences to have regular contact with the authorities, and for serious offenders to be required to wear an ankle monitor.

More than 70 cars have been set on fire in Malmö since early July. 

Some 20 cars were destroyed in Norrköping on Tuesday night, while a car was also set on fire in Lund. 

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