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CRIME

Fugitive who vanished in Sweden sparks international search notice

A convicted murderer who escaped from a transport near Laxå in Örebro County on Thursday is now the subject of an international search.

Fugitive who vanished in Sweden sparks international search notice
Police searched for the man with dogs and helicopters on Thursday. Photo: Jeppe Gustafsson/TT

The search effort in the area around where the 25-year-old convict escaped ended on Friday, and the case has been transferred to police in Stockholm.

He was being transported from a psychiatric detention centre in Gothenburg to Salberga Prison in Sala when he escaped from a stopped transport vehicle between Finnerödja and Laxå at around 11:30am on Thursday.

According to police, there was no violent struggle involved in the escape. The suspect, reportedly barefoot and still in handcuffs, ran into a heavily wooded area.

“We have had a nationwide alert since the day he disappeared,” Eva Nilsson, press officer with Stockholm Police, said, adding that the man was now being searched for internationally.

Nilsson said that there were no indications the man had left Sweden, however.

“There is nothing to indicate (that he has left the country), but if he does he will face the obstacle that Sweden is searching for him (internationally),” she said.

The international search notice was issued on Saturday afternoon.

Police are currently not conducting any active organised searches other than normal investigative procedure.

The 25-year-old was arrested in April for a stabbing death in the Stockholm area. He is convicted of murder but has appealed against the verdict and is therefore deemed to be under arrest.

READ ALSO: Swedish police search for escaped murder suspect 

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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