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CRIME

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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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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