A recent poll in Sweden has found the country increasingly expressing a fear of terror attacks on home soil.
The Novus opinion poll for the public broadcaster SVT shows 46 per cent of Swedes have a fear of terror attacks taking place in Sweden.
The results of the survey conducted at the end of November show the proportion fearful of terrorism has risen sharply since Swedes were last surveyed in January, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. At that time 34 per cent of Swedes said they were very or fairly worried about terrorism.
In the latest survey, carried out in the wake of the jihadi terror attacks in Paris and the rising of the Swedish terror threat level to “high” for the first time ever, 1,183 people aged between 18 and 79 were asked the question: “Just how worried are you that there could be a terrorist attack in Sweden?”
They responded as follows:
- 14 per cent say they are very worried (up from five per cent in the equivalent bracket in January)
- 32 per cent say they are quite worried (up from 29 per cent)
- 21 per cent say they are neither (down from 23 per cent)
- 25 per cent say they are not particularly worried (down from 34 per cent)
- 7 per cent say they are not at all worried (down from 8 per cent)
The fears expressed are not evenly distributed across Swedish society. For example the pollsters found in terms of political allegiance, those who support the anti-mass migration Eurosceptic political party, the Sweden Democrats, were the most troubled.
In addition, provincial Swedes are more likely to be worried that there could be a terrorist attack than their fellow countrymen who live in urban areas. According to the Swedish neuroscientist Katarina Gospic this can be put down to a scientific phenomenon called “habituation”.
Speaking to SVT Ms. Gospic explained it simply means that you get used to certain situations depending on where you live.
Although living in a city does not necessarily mean you witness shootings and the like, nevertheless “one more frequently sees accidents and police cars and ambulances than if you live in a small town, where similar things rarely happen.”
She added: “Exposure to information about terrorist acts and similar events elsewhere, can be a greater source of concern for people in small towns .”