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CRIME

Malmö driving school hit by blast: ‘We want to know why this happened’

The owner of the Malmö driving school badly damaged by an explosion on Tuesday night has told The Local he has not been subject to any extortion requests and knows of no reason why his business would be a target.

Malmö driving school hit by blast: 'We want to know why this happened'
The front doors to the driving school were completely destroyed. Photo: Richard Orange/The Local
“I've got no idea why. Perhaps you can tell me,” Jörgen Rodian, owner of Erikssons Trafikskola, told The Local, as he worked to tidy up the smashed door and windows at the school's entrance on Malmö's Nobeltorget Square. 
 
The powerful blast, which went off just before midnight, could be heard across the city, from the central station to seaside suburb of Limhamn. It blew away the front doors to the driving school, shattered windows and left a small crater in the concrete steps.
 
The steps to the school were badly damaged. Photo: Richard Orange/The Local
 
Nobody was injured in the explosion, which came just over a week after another blast just four doors down on Nobelvägen, the same Malmö street, left a 12-year-old girl with minor injuries. The garage hit is also used by Erikssons, as well as by residents of nearby apartments. 
 
Last November, two driving schools, in Persborg and in Norra grängesbergsgatan, were also hit by explosions.  
 
No arrests had been made by noon on Wednesday, and Nils Norling, press spokesman for the Malmö police, said it was too early to determine if the attacks were related. 
 
“We can't say that we see any immediate connection, but of course this is very close geographically and also close when you talk about time,” he said of the two recent attacks. “We have to analyze the small leftovers we have from the explosions to see if there's any connection there.” 
 
He said that it was possible that the attacks were linked to gangland extortion attempts. 
 
“We have quite a big problem in Malmö with extortion and we know that a lot of small business owners are being extorted,” he said. “We have to look very carefully to see if there might be extortion behind it.” 
 
Rodian told The Local that had never been contacted by anyone trying to extort payments.
 
“No, I've heard nothing, nothing at all,” he said. “What should I be worried about?” 
 
He said that he believed that it was a coincidence that three driving schools had been hit by such similar attacks, and added that did not think the two recent attacks had been targeted at his business. 
 
He pointed out that someone also appeared to have tried to break down the door of the hairdressers next door to him. 

 
Inside the driving school on Wednesday, pupils and instructors were continuing with their lessons as normal. 
 
“We employees and our students also want to know why this has happened,” Per Nilsson, one of the instructors, told The Local. “It's very strange.” 

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CRIME

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.

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