Video of the murder of a 25-year-old was released. In the Scandinavian country, a surge in deadly shootings
The scene, in its raw simplicity, is gruesome: two men dressed in black, their faces covered by balaclavas, burst into the hall of “Damas Sax”, a men’s hairdresser on Marklandsgatan, Gothenburg. The shop is full. They aim their guns at eye level, push the barber to the side – “Stand back!”, They yell – and fire on the customer sitting by the window. At least ten shots fired in the head. The man, a twenty-five year old, dies like this, still sitting in the armchair.
The victim, police now say, was linked to gangs in Gothenburg and the execution, which took place on July 9, came only a week after the murder of a policeman who was killed while on duty at Biskopsgarden, the scene of the gang war in course in recent years in Gothenburg. In late May, riots broke out in the same neighborhood when a gang attacked shops and businesses connected to the rival group. Earlier this month, another man was killed in Hjällbo, also in Gothenburg, after being hit by a bullet in a parking lot. But the list of gang war attacks and casualties is long, covering all of Sweden.
The surge in violence
Sweden is the only European country where fatal shootings have increased significantly since 2000, going from being one of the countries with the lowest rates of armed violence on the continent to one of the highest in less than a decade. . This was stated in the report by the Bra, the Swedish National Council for the Prevention of Crime, which states that the Scandinavian country has now overtaken Italy and the countries of Eastern Europe, mainly due to the violent activities of organized criminal gangs.
Sweden, with a population of 10 million, saw 42 fatal shootings in 2019, the latest year with official statistics. Preliminary data for 2020 show that over 40 people have been killed in just one year. Of the 22 European countries with comparable data analyzed in the Bra report, only Croatia has recorded more deaths per capita from firearms in the last four years. But no other country has seen such a rapid increase as Sweden.
After a long period on a downward trend, fatal shootings in Sweden began to increase in the mid-2000s and have continued to do so. A trend opposite to that of most other countries in Europe, where violence with lethal outcomes, both in general and with firearms, has continued to decline. In Sweden, Bra says, eight out of ten shootings took place in a “criminal environment”, with gang conflicts as one of the potential causes of the trend. Drug trafficking and low confidence in the police in some parts of society have also been cited as potential factors.