Malmö street artists’ mouse detective trail is a ‘biting’ satire

With their new immersive detective mystery Mustisk (Mousterious), the Malmö collective AnonyMouse have taken their mouse-themed street art in an ambitious and gently satirical direction.

Malmö street artists' mouse detective trail is a 'biting' satire
Is Mayor Felix C Atus (below right) all that he seems? Photo: AnonyMouse
Both the new mouse-sized establishment that is the final destination in the treasure hunt (so far unseen by Instagrammers), and the reward issue of Lindenkronan, the city newspaper the collective has invented for the mystery, are nothing short of brilliant. 
It's a fun detective mystery, featuring recorded mouse messages, four locations (three of whom feature new mouse establishments), two maps, and two newspaper front pages. 
The last place you visit might be AnonyMouse's best yet, up there with II Topolino and Noix de Vie, the collective's first mouse restaurant and delicatessen, or the Sacre Blues jazz club that appeared on the streets of Bayonne, France. 
It's also the first mouse establishment in Malmö not to be hidden in the cellar ventilation holes of a building, instead making ingenious use of a common piece of street furniture. 
But as well as being a brilliant treasure hunt, Mustisk is also a piece of left-leaning satire. 
First you have to find the offices of private detective Olivia Flaversham (a named shared by the heroine of Disney's The Great Mouse Detecive) and then send an email to an address on the poster volunteering your services. 
You are then sent an issue of the  Lindenkronan newspaper. 
The newspaper introduces city mayor Felix C Atus, whose suspicious appearance should alert observant participants to the fact that he may not be a true “mouse of the people”. 
Atus, the newspaper reports, had earlier decided to spend “a large proportion of this year's budget on a proper spectacle”, where all the “upper crust gnawers of Malmö” could enjoy a slap-up festive meal.  
The city has also purchased a “record wheel of cheese”, which it has placed in an exhibition centre, hoping to bring tourists and other visitors to the city. The cheese, however, has been stolen from Malmö's cheese bank Fort Nux by a mysterious villain. 
Another article warns of growing “homelessness and food shortages” in the city. 
“Privatization is having its impact and many no longer have the resources to have their own little hole any longer,” laments Klas Klättermus, chief executive of the Tass i Tass (Paw in Paw) homeless shelter (which appeared in Malmö last December). 
All of this amounts to a fairly unsubtle jab at Malmö's Social Democrat-led government, which in the last decade, has invested heavily in Malmö Live, a glitzy concert hall and conference centre, at the same time as social services face cut backs and class sizes in the city's schools grow inexorably. 
The gentle satire underpinning the whole treasure hunt is reminiscent of Bamse, the Swedish cartoon bear who is in a constant battle with the arch-capitalist Krösus Sork and who is rumoured by some to be an actual communist, with one 1983 issue lauding Chairman Mao. 
Judging by the fact that AnonyMouse's Lindenkronen newspaper,  if you look carefully,  was founded by none other than Krösus S. Sork, this similarity appears not to be accidental. 
At Fort Nux there's a phone number and if you ring it, a recorded message left by Flaversham directs you to a third location. 
At the third location, you find a map with a fairly obvious lead to the location of the establishment run by the person or persons behind the robbery. 
Who would want to steal so much cheese? Is it an insurance job? Is Mayor Atus all that he seems? Could he himself be the thief? What is the meaning of the mysterious acorn symbol? 
It's not too tricky to find out.
Although slightly over the head of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old (they enjoyed the models), you would only have to be a few years older to finish it in less than an hour. 
And if you live in Malmö, you should really get off your phone and do it.

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US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success

The US criminologist behind the anti-gang strategy designed to reduce the number of shootings and explosions in Malmö has credited the city and its police for the "utterly pragmatic, very professional, very focused" way they have put his ideas into practice.

US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success
Johan Nilsson/TT

In an online seminar with Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, David Kennedy, a professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said implementing his Group Violence Intervention (GVI) strategy had gone extremely smoothly in the city.

“What really stands out about the Malmö experience is contrary to most of the places we work,” he said. “They made their own assessment of their situation on the ground, they looked at the intervention logic, they decided it made sense, and then, in a very rapid, focused and business-like fashion, they figured out how to do the work.”

He said that this contrasted with police and other authorities in most cities who attempt to implement the strategy, who tend to end up “dragging their feet”, “having huge amounts of political infighting”, and coming up with reasons why their city is too different from other cities where the strategy has been a success.

Malmö’s Sluta Skjut (Stop Shooting) pilot scheme was extended to a three-year programme this January, after its launch in 2018 coincided with a reduction in the number of shootings and explosions in the city.

“We think it’s a good medicine for Malmö for breaking the negative trend that we had,” Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus said, pointing to the fall from 65 shootings in 2017 to 20 in 2020, and in explosions from 62 in 2017 to 17 in 2020.

A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of shootings from 2017 to 2020. Graph: Malmö Police
A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of explosions in the city between 2017 and 2020. Graph: Malmö Police


In their second evaluation of the programme, published last month, Anna-Karin Ivert, Caroline Mellgren, and Karin Svanberg, three criminologists from Malmö University, reported that violent crime had declined significantly since the program came into force, and said that it was possible that the Sluta Skjut program was partly responsible, although it was difficult to judge exactly to what extent. 

The number of shootings had already started to decline before the scheme was launched, and in November 2019, Sweden’s national police launched Operation Rimfrost, a six-month crackdown on gang crime, which saw Malmö police reinforced by officers from across Sweden.

But Kennedy said he had “very little sympathy” for criminologists critical of the police’s decision to launch such a massive operation at the same time as Sluta Skjut, making it near impossible to evaluate the programme.

“Evaluation is there to improve public policy, public policy is not there to provide the basis for for sophisticated evaluation methodology,” he argued.

“When people with jobs to do, feel that they need to do things in the name of public safety, they should follow their professional, legal and moral judgement. Not doing something to save lives, because it’s going to create evaluation issues, I think, is simply privileging social science in a way that it doesn’t deserve.”

US criminologist David Kennedy partaking in the meeting. Photo: Richard Orange

Sluta Skjut has been based around so-called ‘call-ins’, in which known gang members on probation are asked to attend meetings, where law enforcement officials warn them that if shootings and explosions continue, they and the groups around them will be subject to intense focus from police.

At the same time, social workers and other actors in civil society offer help in leaving gang life.

Of the 250-300 young men who have been involved in the project, about 40 have been sent to prison, while 49 have joined Malmö’s ‘defector’ programme, which helps individuals leave gangs.

Kennedy warned not to focus too much on the number of those involved in the scheme who start to work with social services on leaving gang life.

“What we find in in practice is that most of the impact of this approach doesn’t come either because people go to prison or because they take services and leave gang life,” he said.

“Most of the impact comes from people simply putting their guns down and no longer being violent.”

“We think of the options as continuing to be extremely dangerous, or completely turning one’s life around. That’s not realistic in practice. Most of us don’t change that dramatically ever in our lives.”

He stressed the importance of informal social control in his method, reaching those who gang members love and respect, and encouraging them to put pressure on gang members to abstain from gun violence.

“We all care more about our mothers than we care about the police, and it turns out that if you can find the guy that this very high risk, very dangerous person respects – literally, you know, little old ladies will go up to him and get his attention and tell him to behave himself. And he will.”