Stockholm police expert Gunnar Appelgren has described Sweden as being like a “state at war” following a record number of 44 fatal shootings across the country this year.
Appelgren, who serves as the coordinator of the Stockholm police force’s gang conflict programme, said that the situation regarding gun violence was, “reminiscent of some form of state at war,” Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Police in Sweden have made 299 arrests from the start of this year until November, compared to a mere 58 arrests during the same period the year before.
They have also seized around 825 firearms in 2018, up 30 percent from 2017 and the number of hand grenades seized has also risen. The total number of shootings has reduced from 324 in 2017 to 272 in 2018, though the number of fatal shootings has increased.
Stockholm’s police have managed to make inroads into the problem of gun violence, the vast majority of which is related to gang crime, reducing the number of fatal shootings from nineteen in 2017 to eleven so far this year.
Police say their efforts in calming tensions among gangs in the heavily migrant-populated no-go suburb of Rinkeby are partially responsible for the lowering levels of violence.
Stockholm, Sweden: Thirty Fatal Shootings, But Just Eight Convictions https://t.co/KYIhU9a3NB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 22, 2018
“It is too early to draw any happy calculations. We will only see in three to five years if we have succeeded in breaking the trend,” Appelgren said.
In 2017, Sweden saw 43 total shooting fatalities, which has been surpassed in 2018 breaking the former record. According to Appelgren, the best way to reduce shootings is to reduce the number of firearms and hand grenades coming into Sweden from abroad.
Earlier this year, Bosnian prosecutor Goran Glamocanin claimed that Sweden had become the largest market for weapons originating in the Balkans saying, “According to the information we have now, the Swedish market is the most attractive in Europe. It is because of the high demand.”
Earlier this year Sweden also introduced a hand grenade amnesty in order to encourage criminals and others to hand in the explosive weapons without facing charges for possession.