Teen’s brazen spree of crimes frustrates Linköping police

A 14-year-old in Linköping in central Sweden suspected in dozens of crimes continues to evade authorities in part because he is too young to be investigated by police.

As a 12-year-old, the boy committed his first known home burglary. Today, he is suspected for a wide range of crimes, including sexual molestation, threatening a witness during a trial, and several other cases of assault.

The teen is also believed to have participated in the beating of a player on Linköping’s professional ice hockey team.

All told, authorities believe the 14-year-old is culpable for a total of 48 serious crimes in Linköping, reports the Östgöta Correspondenten newspaper.

His most common crime, according to police, is approaching people in the city and asking to see their mobile phones. He then takes the phone and leaves the area.

But the police are unable to take action against the budding career criminal because Swedish law prohibits them from investigating suspects younger than 15-years-old.

Instead, young offenders are the responsibility of social services

“We warned social services a year ago. But they haven’t done enough,” Sofia Larsson of the Linköping police told the paper.

“The signal sent to other children and young people in Linköping is that ‘everyone’ knows that this guy commits crimes but see that nothing happens.”

Niklas Borg, who heads the town’s social welfare board said he is sure there is “reason for the social services office to be self critical”.

The head of the office, Eva Pettersson, remained tight lipped about the boy’s case, however, pointing to Sweden’s secrecy laws.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime