Glen Sjögren has been a police officer in Malmö in southern Sweden for over 40 years.
He says the worst era of crime in his tenure was a handful of years ago. A string of high profile shootings in 2016 and 2017 and ongoing issues with gang violence earned the city a bad name.
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However, a lot has changed in the past three years.
The number of fatal shootings in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, has fallen from 65 in 2017 to 20 last year, and the trend will remain unchanged in 2021.
In doing so, the city is bucking a worrying national trend: Sweden’s gun violence rate has skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new report from the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå).
The country has moved from one of the lowest levels of gun violence in Europe to one of the highest in less than a decade, the report said.
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“The rate in Sweden is very high compared to other European countries with around four deaths per million people per year. The average for Europe is around 1.6 deaths per million people, ”the report said.
“None of the other countries included in the study saw comparable increases,” she adds.
Sweden’s increase in gun violence is mainly driven by organized criminal gangs.
Swedish criminal analyst Björn Wegner says it is clear that gun use has become the norm among gangs in recent years, but there is little explanation for this.
Gun ownership in Sweden is much lower than in the United States, and the rules for acquiring a gun are stricter. Wegner says most of the weapons used by Swedish gangs are from illegal sources.
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