Police solve six percent of Sweden’s crimes

Police solve six percent of Sweden's crimes
Nearly 95 percent of violent crimes and robberies committed in Sweden go unsolved, and an individual police officer solves an average of three crimes per year, according to a recent analysis.

Research carried out by TV4’s Kalla Fakta (‘Cold Facts’) investigative news programme also revealed that violent crimes and robberies make up about 75 percent of all crimes reported in Sweden.

Overall, one in seven Swedes was the victim of a crime in 2007

And of the approximately 900,000 crimes reported last year, police solved only 5.8 percent.

“There is often very little of value to work with. When it comes to theft, there are no witnesses, and victims often don’t know when the crime occurred. There’s really not much to go on and that obviously makes it hard to solve crimes,” said national police chief Bengt Svenson to TV4.

Over the last three years, the number of solved crimes has been decreasing for all crimes except drug and traffic offences, when perpetrators are most often caught in the act.

“It’s a little like a lottery unfortunately. You can have good luck or bad luck as to whether you get the right police officer, depending on whether you are a criminal or a victim,” said researcher Stefan Holgersson.

For justice minister Beatrice Ask, the figures are an unpleasant development for a government for which crime reduction was an important election promise.

While the government has promised to have 20,000 police on the street by 2010, Ask remains concerned about the prevailing culture in Sweden’s law enforcement community.

“I think it has to do with the culture, the idea that there is simply nothing that can be done. Sometimes it may be due to procedural shortcomings. It can sometimes be that people have bad luck. But sometimes it’s also because it’s genuinely hard to investigate a case,” she said.

Regardless, however, Ask said the figures were “frighteningly” high and that Swedish police could probably do a better job of clearing things up in many cases.