Gun violence continues to grip Sweden as country surpasses previous record number of fatal shootings in a year

With a quarter of the year still to go, 48 people have been shot and killed across Sweden this year

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
MALMOE, SWEDEN - Jul 14, 2021: The Knotted Gun or Non Violence sculpture in Malmo, Sweden. Credit: Shutterstock

A record number of people have been murdered as a result of gun violence this year in Sweden — with a quarter of the year still to go.

In total, 48 people have been shot dead in 2022 across the country with the latest fatal shooting taken place in the southern city of Kristianstad on Thursday where a man in his 20s was murdered.

Like many of the reported cases, authorities have no suspects at this moment, according to officer Mikael Lund who spoke to Swedish broadcaster SVT.

The previous record year for fatal shootings was 2020 when 47 people were killed by guns — 35 had taken place by the end of September.

“We are the only EU country that has an increasing trend of firearm violence. In other countries, it is stagnant or decreasing, but here it has increased,” Manne Gerell, a criminology professor at Malmö University told SVT.

His remarks are corroborated in a 2021 report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, which revealed that gun crime across Sweden was increasing at a faster rate than anywhere else in Europe.

One reason law enforcement has attributed to the rise in gun violence is the increase in criminal migrant gangs on Swedish streets as a result of high mass migration.

Reuters recently reported that there are now 61 areas across Sweden, “all with a high proportion of immigrants, listed by police as risk areas for rising gang violence.”

“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 Deputy National Police Chief Mats Löfving, who made the remarks in 2020, garnering national headlines.

The public concern at the rise of violent crime contributed to the recent electoral success of the center-right and right-wing parties on Sept. 11. The Sweden Democrats, previously a relatively humble player in Swedish politics, became the country’s second-largest party after running on a ticket to combat mass migration and crime.

Following their electoral success, one of its MEPs, Charlie Weimers, told Nigel Farage on GB News that his party would be the government’s watchdog to ensure promises of stricter immigration controls and reforms to fight crime are implemented.

“We will be a change watchdog,” Weimers told the British news outlet. “We will make sure that action is actually taken to control migration, an area where the previous government failed utterly, and that we actually start to implement reforms to fight crime.

“You mentioned gun crime, we have shootings every night in Sweden. We have had 500 bombings during the last four years of Social Democratic rule in this country,” Weimers said.

The Sweden Democrats have previously called for a stop on all asylum claims except for Ukrainian refugees.

Makeshift memorial sites to remember the deaths of innocent bystanders to gun violence have become all too common in the Nordic country. A playground in the town of Eskilstuna became the center of attention in the lead up to the election earlier this month after a mother and her 5-year-old child were both injured in the crossfire of gang-on-gang violence.

In August, a man was shot dead at the Emporia shopping mall in the southern city of Malmo, with Swedish news outlet TV4 reporting the firing of around 20 shots as people fled in panic.

With a recent report by Gothenburg University’s Society, Opinion and Media Institute, cited by Reuters, revealing that 41 percent of Swedish voters say crime is their biggest concern, the new Swedish administration will need to swiftly make good on its promises to crack down on gang and gun violence to keep voters on their side.

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