Sweden's Top Cop Has 'No Explanation' Why Country Is Overrun with Crime
- February, 16, 2023 - 15:37
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – As once-peaceful Sweden is grappling with a major crime wave that includes murder, gun violence and bombings, at a level unwitnessed by its peers and neighbors, the country's police chief Anders Thornberg admitted that "this is a society we don't want".
In 2022, fatal shootings in Sweden hit a record high of 61 - six times more than Denmark, Finland and Norway combined. As the country struggles to contain the soaring crime rate, in neighboring countries, a recently coined term "Swedish conditions" has become an insult in political debate.
According to the Nordic country's top cop, the reason for such a drastic decline is impossible to fathom, Sputnik reported.
Nevertheless, he cautiously admitted that "there are those who claim" that immigration could have a hand in the game.
"There are those who say that it may have been because of poor integration and [the fact] that we have to deal with these vulnerable areas," Thornberg told Swedish media, alluding to a massive list of blighted and crime-stricken urban zones scattered across the country.
Outside Sweden, such areas where violence runs riot are known as "no-go zones" and even "ghettos", but the country's authorities stick to the more euphemistic "exclusion zones" or "parallel societies". The list currently features 61 entries, clouded with crime, unemployment and lawlessness.
When asked why Sweden's peers are free of such problems, Thornberg said that he "doesn't really have a good explanation for that either" and suggested that this should be "researched". Remarkably, in 2022, the small immigrant-packed area of Jarva in Greater Stockholm alone had as many fatal shootings as the whole of Norway.
In 2021, Sweden became the only European country where fatal shootings have risen significantly since 2000, jumping from one of the lowest rates of gun violence in Europe to one of the highest in less than a decade, overtaking Italy, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, a report by the Swedish national council for crime prevention found.
The spike in gun homicide in Sweden was linked to criminal milieus in "socially disadvantaged areas," the report said, noting that shooting fatalities had more than doubled in the past decade. Earlier, national police reports identified dozens of organized gangs active in Sweden, often based on shared ethnicity and numbering as many as 5,000 active gangsters. Mob feuds, drug deals and violent redistribution of power in the underworld were named a common factor behind many shootings and explosions.
Although a string of Swedish governments in recent years attempted to downplay the role of violent crime that became omnipresent in political debates and newsreels, present Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has linked the adverse trends to mass immigration and poor integration - a view diametrically opposed to what his own Moderate party said less than a decade ago - and ran on the platform of "straightening out Sweden" promising stiffer law enforcement.
In yet another, more tacit acknowledgment of the scope of the problem, Swedish police received SEK 37Bln ($3.6Bln) in funding in 2023, nearly double since 2015.