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Stockholm suburb explosion: ‘My door just flew in by several metres’

One person was injured and around 50 were evacuated from their homes following two explosions in residential buildings in a suburb of Stockholm early on Tuesday morning.

Stockholm suburb explosion: 'My door just flew in by several metres'
Police technicians investigate while residents wait outside the building. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The two blasts occurred just minutes apart and just a few hundred metres from each other in Husby, northwestern Stockholm, at around 2.30am.

One person was taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries, and the buildings suffered considerable damage. Around 50 residents were evacuated while the buildings were assessed.

“My door just flew in by several metres. It was completely crushed,” a fourth floor resident told TT.

Police had on Tuesday morning cordoned off the surrounding area so technicians could work at the scene and investigate. They were also looking into whether there were cameras in the area, and speaking to witnesses.

“We don't yet know where the explosions happened, more than that it was close to or in the buildings,” said police press spokesperson Towe Hägg.

Police believe the two incidents were connected and have opened a preliminary investigation into so-called devastation endangering the public. “It was such a short interval between them, so we're investigating this as a single incident and we'll see if that changes during the investigation,” said Hägg.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that the blast could be linked to an explosion in the upmarket Stockholm area Östermalm last week, but police could not confirm when approached by The Local.

“It's too early to say if we can connect it (with previous explosions), but we are of course trying to figure out if there are parallels with these different investigations that links them to the other detonations this past week,” police press spokesperson Ola Österling told The Local. 

The incident is being treated as a so-called “special incident”, which can be launched to deal with a range of unexpected or sudden issues which the relevant police unit needs extra help and resources to deal with.

IN DEPTH: Crime gangs in Sweden: What's behind the rise in the use of explosives?

Additional reporting by Elias Liljeström for The Local.

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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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