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CRIME

Stockholm sees spike in gun deaths – but Malmö and Gothenburg go months without fatal shootings

Almost as many people as last year have been shot dead in Stockholm so far this year, according to police. Meanwhile, other cities in Sweden are showing a more positive trend.

Stockholm sees spike in gun deaths – but Malmö and Gothenburg go months without fatal shootings
Police investigate a deadly shooting in Sätra south of Stockholm in April. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Neither of Sweden's two other big cities, Malmö and Gothenburg, has experienced any deadly shootings this year, according to a report by Swedish public radio's news programme Ekot, based on police figures.

But Stockholm is just two fatalities away from being at the same level as last year, with nine people shot dead in the region in the first five months of the year, compared to 11 such gun deaths in 2018.

Police told Ekot that they have seen an unusually high number of shootings in the Swedish capital region this year, more than 30 altogether, a result of various gang conflicts coming to a head.

“The situation we're seeing is that we have conflicts between various networks or groups and they are continuing to create violence,” said Christoffer Boman, local police chief for the Rinkeby area in Stockholm.

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Malmö in southern Sweden, a city that has developed a reputation for a high level of gang crime, has had no gun deaths this year, and remarkably few shootings – for example none at all in the month of March.

This news, reported by The Local at the time, came in contrast to 2018, which was the deadliest year to date in the city's gang conflicts, with 12 people shot dead, compared to 10 people in 2017.

Manne Gerell, Associate Professor of Criminology at Malmö University, then told The Local that it was too early to tell whether Malmö was at a turning point. 

“Obviously it's good to see that there are no shootings at the moment, but it's a bit too soon to put any interpretations on it,” he said.

He said, however, that the police's Stop Shooting or Sluta Skjut programme might have played a role in declining rates of gun violence. 

“It's certainly possible. That programme has produced reductions in gun violence in other cities where it's been tested,” he said. “But it could just be coincidence, or it could be having more people in prison, finally.”

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CRIME

Illegal Swedish strawberry sales raise billions of kronor for organised crime

Swedish police have carried out raids on strawberry vendors suspected of being linked to gang crime.

Illegal Swedish strawberry sales raise billions of kronor for organised crime

According to Aftonbladet, the raids may be connected to one of Sweden’s most wanted gang leaders, Ismail Abdo, nicknamed Jordgubben (“The Strawberry”).

Police didn’t comment on specific names of gang leaders linked to the raids, but said in a statement that they had “hit a central violent actor by targeting individuals around this person and their business structures”.

Raids were carried out in Bergslagen, as well as the Mitt and Stockholm police regions.

It’s suspected that these sellers had been marketing Belgian strawberries as Swedish and using the revenue to fund serious organised crime. Police also found children under the legal working age and migrants without legal residency permits working at the stalls.

Police believe that illegal strawberry sales turn over billions of kronor every year.

“We’ve carried out multiple actions together with other authorities,” Per Lundbäck, from the Bergslagen policing region, told Swedish news agency TT. “By cutting off the finances off this type of organised crime, we can weaken gangs’ financing and their ability to carry out crimes.”

To avoid buying strawberries linked to crime, Lundbäck recommends paying attention to the company you buy your strawberries from.

“The first thing you can do is look at the number the (mobile phone payment app) Swish payment goes to, to make sure it’s a company number starting with 123, and not a private number,” he said.

Most companies will have their Swish number displayed somewhere on the stand, so you should be able to check this even if you don’t have the app and are paying with card, for example.

He also added that you can pay attention to the age of the person selling the strawberries, describing very young sellers as a “red flag”.

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