Prison Works: Police Link Decline in Malmo Murders to Gang Members Being Jailed

Policemen search the scene after five people were hurt in a shooting in the centre of the southern Swedish city of Malmo on June 18, 2018. - One person was killed and five wounded in a shooting in the centre of the southern Swedish city of Malmo, police said, ruling …

Police in the multicultural southern Swedish city of Malmö say that the murder rate has fallen since 2018 because many gang leaders are behind bars.

In 2020, the city saw five murders, a major drop from the 13 that took place in 2018 and eight in 2019.

Mattias Sigfridsson, deputy police area manager in Malmö, told broadcaster SVT that the hacking of an encrypted app used by criminals called EncroChat has helped police prevent murders and violent crimes.

“[W]e believe we have prevented murder and serious violent crimes. That has been our goal all along – to lock up those who are responsible for the violence. We have also received valuable information from EncroChat, the encrypted chat we have taken part in. This has, of course, affected our ability to prevent crime,” Sigfridsson said.

EncroChat was breached last year by investigators and led to the arrest of more than 700 organised criminals linked to drug trafficking, gun smuggling, and money laundering in the United Kingdom alone. As of December 2020, more than a thousand criminals who used the service had been arrested.

While Malmö has seen a reduction in murders last year, just one of the five cases has actually been solved. Two others await trial and the remaining two cases have no suspects at all. Several murders from previous years also remain unsolved.

2020 was also a high year for fatal shootings across Sweden, with 47 people killed in shootings compared to 42 in 2019 and 45 in 2018. The number of overall shootings also increased from 2019.

In Stockholm, 2020 saw a record number of explosions and bombings despite the Wuhan virus pandemic, but explosions and bombings across the entire country were down to 107 from 133 in 2019.

Robert Karlsson, deputy regional police chief in Stockholm, said that while he was not satisfied with the number of explosions last year, police had managed to develop tools to better investigate bombing cases.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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