Sweden sees rise in shootings despite police crackdown on gang crime

Sweden sees rise in shootings despite police crackdown on gang crime
Police commissioner Stefan Hector. Photo: Thea Åhs/TT
The number of shootings increased in Sweden in the first four months of the year according to new police figures, despite a massive police operation to crack down on gang violence.

Fifteen people were killed in 98 shootings between January and April, the police commissioner in charge of a task force fighting criminal bomb attacks and shootings said on Wednesday.

That's an increased compared to the same period last year, when there were 81 shootings with 15 people killed, but relatively unchanged compared to previous years. Nine people were killed in 76 shootings during the same four months in 2018, and the year before that a total of 16 people were killed in 99 shootings.

Stefan Hector is the police commissioner in charge of Operation Hoarfrost (Operation Rimfrost), a so-called “special national incident” launched in November 2019 to look into violent gang crime incidents in Sweden.

He said the new figures did not show that the operation had been a failure.

“No, I would not say that. There's more to the situation than just comparing figures,” he told newswire TT.

“We can see that a number of serious violent crimes have been prevented thanks to police activity. So things would have been worse if we had not carried out this operation,” Hector added.

Since mid-December, police have carried out 754 raids, seized 696 weapons, 155.5 kilos' worth of explosives, 168 kilos of amphetamine, around 60 kilos of cocaine, and more than 4.5 million kronor.

A total of 246 people have been remanded in custody by courts (häktade).


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