Amidst a wave of bloody, gang-related murders in Stockholm, and police warnings that the situation is likely to get worse, a report has found 94.5 per cent of people identified as being involved in the Swedish capital’s violent, organised crime scene have a migration background.
Stockholm has been the site of 552 shootings linked to criminal gangs since January 2011, 46 of which were deadly. Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that the city has seen a “record number of unsolved murders amidst seemingly endless gang shooting incidents” in recent years.
Expressen’s analysis of the situation, which included mapping 192 individuals who police confirmed to be part of gangs in Stockholm and the city’s organised crime scene, uncovered striking statistics about mass migration’s effect on crime in the Swedish capital.
According to the study, 94.5 per cent of people involved with organised crime had at least one parent born abroad. 40.6 per cent of the criminals looked at by the newspaper were themselves born overseas, whilst both parents of 82.2 per cent of gang members were foreign-born.
The report notes the main country of origin for gang criminals was Iraq, but other overrepresented nations which stood out to researchers include Somalia, Syria, and Turkey.
Criminologist Manne Gerell, a researcher at Malmö University, said that “structural racism” is what lies behind the massive overrepresentation of migrants from poor and violence-plagued third world countries in Sweden’s crime statistics.
“Many people who come from other countries and living in deprived areas feel they are discriminated against,” he told Expressen.
Adam Marttinen, an MP for the populist Sweden Democrats, offered a different explanation for the figures, asserting that “irresponsible levels of immigration lead to crime”.
“Other political parties’ indulgence of such policies have enriched organised criminal gangs,” he posted to Facebook, commenting on the Expressen report.
The latest police efforts to map and prevent gang violence, Project Mareld, estimates that between 500 and 700 gang members in 49 different networks are connected to the wave of violence in the city in recent years.
“Criminal gangs can be found throughout Stockholm, in all suburbs. The common denominator with gang members is that they all live in the same area and engage in crime. It is what links them together. Criminals in a specific area form a network,” said Inspector Gunnar Appelgren, coordinator of Project Mareld.
Noting that these 49 networks are currently involved in 17 conflicts in the Swedish capital where the police believe there is a risk of lethal violence, Expressen reports that gang crime is a growing problem across the entire nation.
In the 61 areas they have categorised as “vulnerable”, police say there are around 5,000 criminals who are active in around 200 organised crime networks, in a new report.
“In these areas, criminals rule,” said Linda Staaf, head of National Police intelligence. “In the past, they would shoot people in the leg to intimidate, whereas now, they aim for the head — to kill.”