Homeless commit crimes to avoid sleeping rough

Many of Sweden's homeless commit crimes during the winter months to avoid sleeping rough, according to a report by Sveriges Radio (SR).

The three square meals and warm bed on offer in Swedish prison cells are considered by many to be preferable to sleeping under a bridge.

Bengt-Erik Eriksson, a social secretary at Karlskrona district council, told SR Blekinge that five of the town’s 17 homeless addicts are currently housed in prison cells.

According to Eriksson these prison visitors are there after having deliberately committed crimes and then surrendered themselves for arrest.

“One can commit a crime and then simply ensure that you are caught. You just wait until the police arrive,” he explained.

Once arrested the homeless, many of whom are addicts, receive meals, clothing, a warm bed, and above all safety during the cold winter months.

Eriksson does not see anything strange in the development.

“To be homeless is very stressful for many people.”

Eriksson argued that more needs to be done to ensure that homeless people in Karlstad and across Sweden find housing.