Shooting fatalities have risen sharply in Sweden over the last nine years, and the police chief in the notorious no-go Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby is demanding a reform of the country’s firearms laws.
Statistics from the National Board of Sweden’s Cause of Death register reveal shootings that have resulted in fatalities have doubled in the last nine years. In 2008, the number of fatal shootings was 14. The figure rose to 22 in 2013 and 31 in 2015. Jörgen Olsson, Deputy Local Police Area Manager in Rinkeby, has demanded stricter legislation on firearms, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
“The criminals are laughing at society; there will be no consequences for this person,” Olsson said, referencing a case in which a known criminal in Rinkeby was arrested and released after only five hours despite being found with body armour and a firearm.
“He comes out with a shrug, later he will receive a sentence of about one year in prison, but it will be shortened if he avoids [trouble],” he added.
Due to the rise in cases, Olsson said: “There has been a lot of talk about stricter punishment for gun crime and politicians have also discussed at length about whether we should have mandatory detention for those apprehended with a loaded gun and suspected of aggravated larceny.” He added the police thought discussions were progressing far too slowly.
Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said there would be a new bill ready to be voted on by the summer that will seek to reform current gun laws. “We are raising the penalty for serious gun crimes to two years, so it becomes mandatory detention,” he said. Ygeman added if the proposed bill had been put into law eight years ago, the shooting statistics today would be much different.
Rinkeby and nearby Stockholm suburb of Husby are both considered No-Go Zones by Swedish authorities who are often attacked by residents when they go to the areas.
Police are not the only ones to be assaulted in these zones. Recently, an ambulance union head complained paramedics needed military defence gear to protect themselves from residents who mostly come from a migrant background.
Only a few weeks ago, Rinkeby was in flames as a riot engulfed the centre of the suburb with cars set on fire and shops looted. Between January and July of 2016, some 2,000 cars were set on fire across the country.