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CRIME

Gothenburg blast: Police identify suspect with ‘no link to criminal gangs’

Police have confirmed that they have identified a suspect for the blast in Gothenburg earlier this week, which forced around 200 people to evacuate their homes and seriously injured four.

The area around the Gothenburg building hit by the blast cordoned off by police
The area around the building hit by the blast cordoned off by police. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The detonation occurred shortly before 5am on Tuesday morning, and 16 people were treated in hospital as a result, while residents have not been able to return to their homes.

Police have now issued a warrant for the arrest of a suspect for devastation endangering the public on probable cause (the higher degree of suspicion under Swedish law). The warrant was issued in the suspect’s absence and police have not yet located the person.

“In light of what is known in the investigation, we can say that there is no connection to gang crime,” regional police chief Klas Johansson told a press conference.

He added that the technical investigation had been delayed due to the conditions at the site of the detonation, which made it too difficult for technicians to enter.

Police did not go into any details at the press conference about who the suspect was or what the likely motive behind the act was, but Johansson said: “It is of course very important that we get hold of this person as soon as possible.” Swedish media including SVT Väst cited anonymous sources that said the suspect was a 55-year-old man.

Local newspaper Göteborgs-Posten reports that the Swedish Enforcement Agency had planned to carry out an eviction at the address on Tuesday, which may be linked to the blast.

Police had said on Tuesday that the blast was unlikely to be due to natural causes.

Up until September 15th this year, Swedish police had recorded 60 explosions classified as ‘endangerment of the public’. Many of these blasts are thought to be linked to criminal gang conflicts, but the crime has a relatively low clearance rate meaning the motive and suspects cannot always be identified.

Member comments

  1. So just another regular, ordinary, nameless Swede gathering explosives in his apartment and blowing up buildings before being evicted by police? Makes sense. Total sense. I mean doesn’t everyone in Sweden collect up explosives these days? It’s all the rage, so to speak. Totally normal. Nothing to see here. Move on and ignore the rubble.

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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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