Gang violence spreading in Sweden

The spiral of violence including shootings and deaths in several Swedish cities continues - despite new measures introduced by the conservative government. Since the beginning of September seven people have been killed in the Stockholm-Uppsala area. The latest victim is a teenager who was shot dead last week in a Stockholm suburb. The government has neglected the problem for too long, the national press criticises.

Open/close all quotes
Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Help those who want out

Children and young people who want to get out of gang crime are often left in the lurch, laments Dagens Nyheter:

“Smaller municipalities have neither the resources nor the competence to shoulder this task. ... Then there's the rigid age limit: targeted assistance due to a serious threat situation is only available for criminals over the age of 18. This doesn't take account of a reality in which more and more minors are committing serious violent crimes. They are often left with only two options: to plunge deeper into the spiral of violence or become targets of retaliation themselves. Society must be able to offer a third alternative.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

A Marshall Plan to combat violence is needed

Only massive support for deprived areas which have become crime hotspots and are mainly inhabited by people from a migration background can solve the problem in the long term, Aftonbladet writes, and explains:

“Fine words or tougher punishments are not enough. It will take a 'Marshall Plan' for the suburbs, with targeted resources for schools, preschools, social services, social skills training, jobs and housing. Unfortunately there is no sign of such investments in the government's budget due to be presented on Wednesday. Instead, cuts to municipal budgets are on the agenda. Guess what will happen as a result?”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

The judiciary needs sharper teeth

The state must consider adopting new instruments in view of the low number of fatal shooting cases that are solved, Göteborgs-Posten writes:

“The possibility of allowing witnesses to remain anonymous is being explored. Changes may also be made to the crown witness system, which involves a shorter sentence for witnesses who provide information about others. That's good. But Sweden is simply not equipped to deal with this kind of unprecedented violence, which has taken root due to naivety and political inaction. Gang crime has developed over decades because of irresponsible immigration policies, political neglect and downplaying of the problem, and it will probably take decades for it to be eradicated.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Always someone else's fault

The conservative government is pinning the blame for all the problems on its predecessors, criticises Aftonbladet:

“Does the slogan 'Blame the Socialists' sound familiar? This is the government's reaction every time it fails a task; the price of diesel, Nato membership, electricity subsidies or food prices. It's always someone else who's to blame. ... After [Tuesday's] government statement in the Riksdag, we can add another election promise to the list: gang violence. In his speech, the prime minister talked about problems 'that have developed in the Reichstag over a long period of time'. It will take forever to solve them. Operation 'downplay expectations' is underway. But that's not the tune they were playing before the election.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

De-escalation helps the rioters in the long run

Sweden's police needs to adopt a tougher stance on riots and take violent people into custody directly on the scene, says Dagens Nyheter:

“The police's actions and strategic decisions may or may not escalate the situation in the short term. But in the long run, any decision to retreat means that decent people in vulnerable areas are held hostage by vandals who have no respect for their neighbours. In a situation where parallel societies and their respective value systems are increasingly entrenched, it is counterproductive and dangerous for the police to give in and let the perpetrators of violence win.”