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CRIME

Malmö sees first month in three years without a shooting

March was the first month in more than three years without a shooting reported in the city of Malmö, fuelling hopes that its long wave of tit-for-tat killings may have peaked.

Malmö sees first month in three years without a shooting
Police cordon off an area in Rosengård after a shooting on New Years' Eve 2018. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
According to police statistics obtained by state broadcaster Sveriges Radio, September 2015 was the last calendar month in the city with no reports of guns being fired. 
 
“We have just had an extraordinary number of shooting in 2016, 2017 and even over a part of 2018,” Jonas Karlberg, head of Malmö police's serious crimes unit, told the radio broadcaster.  “So obviously to the extent that there's no shooting in Malmö, we're extremely pleased.” 
 
The good news has not continued into April, however, with a shooting taking place on April 10th at a house in Rosengård, although no one was injured. 
 
There have been just six recorded shootings so far this year in the city, with no one so far killed or injured in the attacks. 
 
This comes in contrast to 2018, which was the deadliest year to date in the city's gang war, with no fewer than 12 people shot dead, and four shootings in just 24 hours on November 8th. Ten people were shot dead in 2017. 
 
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Manne Gerell, Associate Professor of Criminology at Malmö University, told The Local it was too early to tell whether the city was at a turning point. 
 
“Obviously it's good to see that there are no shootings at the moment, but it's a bit too soon to put any interpretations on it,” he said.
 
He said, however, that the police's Stop Shooting or Sluta Skjut programme might have played a role in declining rates of gun violence. 
 
“It's certainly possible. That programme has produced reductions in gun violence in other cities where it's been tested,” he said. “But it could just be coincidence, or it could be having more people in prison, finally.” 

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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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