Linkeby, Sweden: Gang shootings have escalated and spread across Sweden, as authorities struggle to contain the war-like violence that has become a top voter concern ahead of Sunday’s general election. “This is a picture of my son, Marley, when she was 19,” Marisa Ogilvie told AFP, adding that she was among the many photos that grace the walls of her apartment in Stockholm. I have one framed photo of a smiling young man.

“He was shot in the head while sitting in a car with a friend,” said the 51-year-old man. On March 24, 2015, the murder of Barbie in an underprivileged concrete suburb southwest of Stockholm at his guard went unsolved, and the case was closed after 10 months.

Such killings, police say, are often reconciliations between rival gangs, often controlled by immigrant clans, and are increasingly taking place in broad daylight. The violence stems mostly from fights over drug and arms markets and personal revenge.

It has escalated to the point where Sweden, one of the richest and most equal countries in the world, tops the European rankings for deadly shootings, according to a report released last year by the National Crime Prevention Council. And, of the 22 countries with comparable data, only Croatia had more shootings, and no other country recorded a greater increase than Sweden over the past decade.

shopping mall run

The number of casualties continues to rise despite various measures introduced by social-democratic governments to crack down on gangs, including tougher prison sentences and more police force. Since January 1, 48 people have died from firearms in Sweden, three more than he has in 2021 as a whole. Bombings and grenade attacks on homes and cars are also frequent. For the first time, crime has removed the usual welfare state concerns of health care and education and has become one of the main concerns of Swedes in Sunday’s elections.

Violence, once contained in places frequented by criminals, has now spread to public spaces, raising concerns among ordinary Swedes in Sweden, which has long been known as a safe and peaceful country. On August 19, a 31-year-old man identified as a gang leader in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, was shot dead in the Emporia shopping center, months after his brother’s death.

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested for murder. A week later, a young woman and her son were injured by a stray bullet while playing in a park in Eskilstuna, a quiet town of 67,000 west of Stockholm. The conservative moderates and the right-wing opposition, led by the far-right Swedish Democrats who want to usurp power from the Social Democrats, have vowed to restore “law and order”. Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson has defended the left against her claims of laziness and has promised a “national offensive” against the scourge that poses a “threat to all of Sweden.”

“Parallel Society”

According to Anderson, the increase in crime numbers is due to the emergence of “parallel societies” due to “too much immigration and too little integration.” Former gangster Jacob Freiman, who now helps other criminals leave their lives behind, is shocked by the level of violence. We had weapons, of course, but we rarely had to shoot anyone,” he told AFP in Södertälje, an industrial city with a large immigrant population south of Stockholm. .

“You used to shoot someone in the leg. Now they’re told to shoot in the head,” he says. At the police station in Rinkeby, one of Stockholm’s underprivileged suburbs, 26-year-old patrol officer Michael Cojocaru said he and his colleagues regularly encountered brutal violence reminiscent of war, and used the attack It said it seized weapons, grenades and explosives.

“You’ll see wounds, people shot with AK47s, people stabbed, people with war wounds,” he told AFP. “It’s a whole different society… It’s like a different type of Sweden”. I think it is caused by

Recruiting teenagers into criminal gangs is also a major concern. Seven years later, Marisa Ogilvy is still trying to understand why her son was killed. “He was just a normal kid.” she sighs. “And it keeps getting worse.” – AFP

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