‘Now everyone in Malmö lives under the shadow of gun crime’

'Now everyone in Malmö lives under the shadow of gun crime'
A policeman carrying out a forensic examination of the crime scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The Local's Malmö correspondent Richard Orange, whose son attends the daycare right next to the site of Wednesday's shooting, explains how it feels to live in a city where gangland shootings are no longer confined to the suburbs.
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“Have you seen the news,” my wife Mia said over the phone, as I rang her up to try and order our day. “There's been a shooting, right outside Kråkan. There are police everywhere.” 
Kråkan is our children's daycare, and Mia had arrived with our son, Finn, just as the victim was being loaded into an ambulance. She had to talk her way past a police cordon to drop our son off. 
Inside, staff and parents were shaken. One of the teachers and several children, all under four years of age, had been in the room looking out onto the street when the shots rang out. They saw a man run past the window. Heard a car accelerate away.
When I arrived, Mia was standing outside the police cordon with another parent, who was still in tears. She had been speaking to the newspapers and to Swedish Television, talking about the anxiety she felt that Malmö's ongoing gang war had struck so close to home. She was so upset that she took the day off work. 
“They shot after him as he was walking away towards Kråkan,” she told me. “They could have easily shot through the window and hit one of the children.”
She started talking about accelerating plans to move the daycare, a parent-led cooperative, to new premises, further away from Möllevången Square. 
“Maybe we should sell the flat and move out into the suburbs,” she said. 
I felt unemotional. That the shooting took place metres from where my son spends his days was incidental. It could have been anywhere. But when we see attacks so close to home, in the city centre and the streets where I live and work, I do worry for my adopted hometown. 
This is not the first shooting on Möllevången Square, nor the only recent attack in my area. There was an explosion recently at a local newsagents. A string of shootings in Värnhem, five minutes' walk away. 

Police at the scene of Wednesday's shooting. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
How many middle-class families will act on the sort of feelings Mia expressed and leave the city for less stimulating but safer suburbs? Massive Entertainment, the Malmö-based video game company, is in the process of moving to huge new premises in the Möllevången area. How many more shootings will it take for them to move back out?
For now, Malmö still feels like a place where things are happening. In the seven years since I arrived, a lot of interesting restaurants have opened, some quite high-end. New employers have moved in, whole new areas of smart modern apartments have been built. How many more shootings will it take to reverse that? 
In the Cammoccia Café a few doors down, the mostly immigrant clientele barely seemed concerned. Middle-aged men played backgammon outside, much as they always do. For people who live in Rosengård, Fosie, Nydala or other troubled Malmö suburbs, perhaps a shooting like this is no longer so exceptional. As long as it is gang members shooting other gang members, it is no particular cause for concern. 
It is only people like me, people from the other Malmö of game designers, filmmakers, journalists and the like who feel the streets on which they live their lives are no longer quite as safe.
But now everyone in Malmö lives under the same shadow of gun crime. 
If that increases mutual understanding and pushes the municipality and the police to put in more resources, perhaps something positive can come out of the fact that my Malmö is now experiencing what the other Malmö has suffered for years.

Member comments

  1. I do not agree with the author. Despite living in one of what the author refers to as “troubled Malmö suburbs,” I find the city– including the suburban neighborhoods– to be a safe, welcoming place. These incidents often target specific groups, and rarely threaten the lives of middle or upper class residents.

    Malmö has some well-documented struggles, yet crime rates here are still below most areas of the developed world. A resident like the author has little to fear.

  2. You don’t really all live under fear. I live in Chicago and while we have a reputation as being a violent city with more Americans killed here than in the Iraq war, the reality is there are violent areas, and then there are areas where people are shocked if violence happens. There are always good areas and bad areas (of course, crime is more mobile these days)

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