Over 700 shootings have taken place near primary schools in Sweden in the past three years, according to data from the Swedish broadcaster SVT in collaboration with Infostat.
SVT’s mapping reveals that 196,000 (16 percent) of Swedish primary school students currently attend a school where one or more shootings have taken place within a 500-meter radius in the last three years.
Naturally, this figure is lower among the country’s rural population, while in urban areas such as Stockholm and Malmö, the figure skyrockets to close to 50 percent.
The small city of Södertälje in Södermanland and Stockholm County is the worst-affected area, with 54 percent of school children attending an educational facility that has experienced a shooting in its vicinity in the last three years. The city of Eskilstuna in the south-east of the country is the second most infamous at 49 percent. Stockholm and Malmö place third and fourth, while Västerås is in fifth.
Most of the shootings are taking place at night, and thus outside of school hours; however, experts have still expressed concern about the effect such violence has on the children living nearby.
“It is a problem that there is shooting at all and that you can see the places of violence so close. It creates a lot of insecurity,” noted criminologist Sven Granath to broadcaster SVT.
“It can also give a sense of injustice because these are students who may see shootings more often than others in their everyday lives,” he added.
The vast majority of shootings are attributed to gang warfare, a relatively new phenomenon for the Nordic country following its previous governments’ liberal attitude toward mass migration.
The estimated 5,000 urban crime gang members dominating Swedish cities are almost exclusively first- or second-generation immigrants, including all 12 of the country’s convicted gang leaders, according to Amir Rostami, a leading criminologist and professor who based his findings on police data.
And as authorities struggle to get a grip on gang violence, fatal shootings have reached record highs with 46 homicides being reported in 335 shootings across Sweden last year.
The schools most-affected by gang shootings were almost exclusively in Stockholm where seven of the schools with the most shootings are located.
Gullingeskolan was the most plagued institution with 14 shootings within 500 meters of the school in the last three years. Meanwhile, Askeby School, Hjulsta Primary School, and Rinkeby School, all of which are located in Stockholm, also experienced double-digit figures.