Malmö sees lowest crime stats in 17 years: new figures

With recent high-profile shootings, you'd think Malmö was in the middle of a crime wave. But according to preliminary official statistics, 2018 saw the lowest number of crimes reported in the city in 17 years.

Malmö sees lowest crime stats in 17 years: new figures
Police cordon off an area of Nydala after a fight broke out among teenage youths. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
According to Sweden's crime statistics agency Brå, the number of crimes reported in Malmö dropped more than 10 percent in 2018 to 53,192, a level last seen in 2001, when there were 75,000 fewer people living in the city.  
“We have been pushing on with our reorganization and had the opportunity to work more on crime prevention,” Andy Roberts, police chief for northern Malmö, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
But he said he would prefer not to give further comment until he was sure that the impressive looking preliminary statistics were accurate. “We need to sit down and analyze all this to make sure that there isn't something wrong with the statistics,” he said. 
According to Brå's annual statistics, the number of attempted murders reported in Malmö dropped by nearly half, from 100 in 2017 to 55 in 2018, the lowest number since 2013. 
The number of reported robberies also dropped significantly, falling by nearly 14 percent to 20,468 compared to last year, and by 40 percent compared to 1998. 
The only real bad news in the statistics was in the number of reported rapes, which increased by 10 percent to 230, the highest number since 1996, the earliest year in Brå's database. 
Gothenburg, Sweden's second city, also saw the number of crimes reported drop, with six percent fewer this year than last year, bringing crime in the city to its lowest level since 1999. 
Stockholm, Sweden's capital, saw the number of reported crimes go in the other direction, however, up nearly four percent to 207,781. 

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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.