Why Sweden struggles to curb gang violence

IN AUGUST A criminal clan set up roadblocks in Gothenburg to catch members of a rival gang. The police intervened and made several arrests, but failed to charge anyone. The gang war in Gothenburg eventually ended not because the cops stopped it, but because the gangsters negotiated a truce. Swedes are shocked to see such instances of the forces of law and order losing control of the country’s streets.

Sweden remains exceptionally safe—its murder rate is only a fifth of America’s. But a surge of spectacular gang crimes has captured public attention. This summer two Swedish teenagers were tortured and raped in a cemetery in a so-called humiliation crime. In the first half of this year 20 people, mostly young men, were killed in 163 shootings. A study in 2018 found that a man aged 15 to 29 in Sweden is ten times more likely to get shot than in Germany.

The problem is concentrated in highly segregated immigrant neighbourhoods. In Husby, a suburb of Stockholm, more than 80% of the population are migrants or the children of migrants, most of them from Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Turkey. The scene of ugly riots seven years ago, Husby is officially classified as one of 22 “extremely vulnerable areas” prone to crime and violence. Unemployment in such neighbourhoods is high. Thanks to restrictive labour rules, it is hard for…

Link to article: www.economist.com/node/21795736?fsrc=rss%7Ceur

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