The number of murders committed with firearms in Sweden has reached a record high this year, the Stockholm government said on Monday.
“The number of fatal shootings has increased and has reached another bloody peak this year,” said Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer. According to the minister, 60 people have been killed by firearms so far in 2022.
The number has already surpassed last year’s previous record of 48. At the time, Reuters reported that there were 61 areas across Sweden, “all with a high proportion of immigrants, listed by police as risk areas for rising gang violence.”
Among other countries in the region, four murders were committed with firearms in Norway, four in Denmark, and two in Finland, according to Hungarian newspaper Magyar Hirlap.
Sweden’s murder rate rises with immigration
Sweden is at the top of Europe when it comes to the number of deaths caused by firearms
Most of the gun violence has been attributed to Sweden’s large migrant population. In 2020, Deputy National Police Chief Mats Löfving, who has since been reassigned to the Special Prosecutor’s Chamber, said there are 40 migrant clans operating in Sweden, and they are responsible for much of the violence in the country.
“These clans have come to Sweden solely to organize crime. They work to create power, they have a great capacity for violence, and they want to make money. And they do that through drug crimes, violent crimes, and extortion,” said Löfving while appearing on Swedish television.
In addition, government data shows that nearly all 5,000 gang members in Sweden are either first- or second-generation immigrants.
Strömmer said that these killings were just the tip of the iceberg because violence pervades parts of society and organized crime is also significant.
‘No more migrants’ – Sweden changes its asylum policy
Sweden admits mistakes in its asylum policy
Last year, 45 people were shot dead in Sweden, compared to 17 in 2012, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. The justice minister said that the government is setting up a special body within the ministry to coordinate the fight against organized crime.
“No decent society can accept that every week someone is shot dead in the open streets,” Strömmer underlined.
Sweden has long made international headlines for its transformation from a once peaceful society into what Germany’s Bild newspaper has labeled the “most dangerous country in Europe.”
“In the EU, an average of eight people per 1 million are victims of fatal violence. In Sweden, the number in 2020 was 12 people per 1 million inhabitants. When it comes to the victims of firearms, the difference between Europe and Sweden is even greater. In the EU, an average of 1.6 people per million die from gunshot wounds — in Sweden the figure is four, almost three times as many,” Bild wrote in 2021.
The previous Swedish government, led by the Social Democrats, significantly strengthened the police and increased penalties for crimes committed with firearms, but it failed to curb the expansion of criminal organizations.
A coalition of right-wing parties, which won a majority in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 parliamentary elections, has promised tougher action against crime. It envisages the creation of zones where suspects can be picked up and searched, a doubling of the penalties for offenses linked to criminal organizations, and an extension of the authorities’ powers to intercept criminals.