Police in the Swedish city of Uppsala have warned that the city may face an increase in shootings due to a power vacuum among criminal gangs as several prominent gangsters are currently behind bars.
Uppsala police intelligence director Jale Poljarevius stated that the city may be facing a new wave of shootings this summer as many of the leaders or prominent members of criminal gangs are currently in custody, presenting a power vacuum in the city.
“A void has been created. And in that, others want to step forward,” Poljarevius told Swedish broadcaster SVT and added that while some gangs show their status with cars and clothes, others do so by committing acts of violence.
“You want to create status, and you do that by going in and shooting,” he said and noted that around five or six criminal gangs currently operating in the city.
In the last five years, there have been 115 shootings in Uppsala county, with the vast majority taking place in the city of Uppsala itself. A total of 43 people have been injured as a result of shootings and eleven people have died.
Sweden: Fatal Shootings in First 3 Months of 2022 Over Triple That of 2021https://t.co/LQRPe3Flpf
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Shootings in Uppsala did decrease from 2019 to 2020, but intelligence director Poljarevius said police can never say they are finished with gang activity, saying, “You never do, cracking all the gangs is a nice political slogan, but it can’t be achieved. There are always new ones coming.”
Shootings, particularly fatal shootings, have been at high rates in the last several years, averaging around 40 deaths per year since 2017.
Last year there were also several high-profile fatal shootings, including the assassination of the 19-year-old rapper Einar who was shot just south of Stockholm in a shooting that is believed to have been linked to organised criminal gangs.
In another incident last July, a Swedish police officer was shot and killed in Gothenburg. A 17-year-old was later arrested in connection with the death of the officer, who is believed to have been caught in the crossfire of an attempted gang killing.
In the first three months of this year, the number of fatal shootings increased by over three times compared to the same period in 2021, with 17 people shot dead across the country.