• Sweden's news in English
Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Police investigators at the scene of the grenade blast in Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'

Lee Roden · 23 Aug 2016, 15:19

Published: 23 Aug 2016 12:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Aug 2016 15:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

READ FIRST: Sorrow for Birmingham boy killed in grenade blast

A number of gang-related incidents in Gothenburg have made headlines recently. What is the background to them?

“We have severe gang problems not only in Gothenburg but also other big cities. It relates to several things: one is organized crime in the area, mostly regarding narcotics. There is also a subculture of violence to do with animosities between different factions and gangs,” Sarnecki explained.

“The thing that happened in Gothenburg is part of a cycle of violence," he added.

"There are two groups and they try to hit each other as hard as possible. In the last year there was a shooting in a restaurant and people were killed. One side might not be happy with the sentence from that case, so they look for a kind of revenge, and are careless, throwing something into a house where they know one of the opposing people lives.”

Rostami agreed that the grenade incident in Gothenburg has a long-standing history.

"The problem in Gothenburg is relatively old," he said.

"It has been to do with different factions and their conflict. This problem in that specific area was originally to do with a girlfriend or thereabouts, but it has escalated to the degree that the people involved in the conflict don’t even know what it’s about. It’s now simply a gang issue, a gigantic soap that has gone on for quite a long time.”

Are innocent people now actively being targeted in these attacks?

“Gang violence starts with shooting the people you hate, but you can’t always get to them," Sarecki noted.

"You get more careless and you don’t care that other people will be hurt, so the next step is to deliberately try to hurt the people who are close to the people you hate. I’m afraid we could be at the border of that stage,” he added.

“The shooting at the restaurant was extremely ruthless. There was a high degree of probability that other people would get hurt, which they were. The throwing of the grenade is more escalation. It’s very serious.”

Is Sweden’s problem with gangs getting worse?

"Perhaps, but in the 1990s there were gang problems too. There were incidents with grenades and gangs then too," Rostami said.

“It’s all about perspective," Sarecki added.

"In a five to seven-year period it has increased. In Gothenburg in particular there was a feeling that after the sentence from the restaurant shooting it could be quiet, but it has obviously escalated once more.”

Are police struggling to combat these gangs?

“You have to take into account that what has happened in Gothenburg occurred in an area where people aren’t necessarily keen to cooperate with the authorities," Sarecki emphasized.

"Without cooperation it isn’t easy to solve. In that regard, arresting the people involved in the restaurant shooting was a big success. The police have placed a high priority on these kind of cases.”

Rostami agreed that police find it difficult to speak to witnesses about the incidents, but also pointed out that it isn't impossible.

Story continues below…

"Most people don't want to speak officially, but there are many who would speak unofficially," he said. 

"The consequences of things like what has happened this week on someone's mindset are significant. People start to worry about their kids, for example." 

Is there a clear solution to the issue?

"One alternative, which has happened in places like the USA, is trying to create a dialogue," Rostami suggested.

"You can try to solve the problem by talking to the key people. But it's an old conflict, and that's not easy to do."

Sarecki agreed that targeting key figures is important for the police in tackling gangs: “The most important part is incapacitation,"

"These people need to be locked away for a pretty long time. It’s a kind of network we’re talking about, and networks are consolidated by a few people in particular, who are leaders. If you disturb the network, you disturb the communication and the plan. So the challenge for the police is to get the right people."

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available