Violent crime in Sweden is soaring. When will politicians act?

January was a particularly violent month in Sweden. A 63-year-old man was killed in Stockholm by a hand grenade lying in the street. A Dutch exchange student was hit by a stray bullet during an execution-style killing at a pizza restaurant in Uppsala. In Gothenburg, a hand grenade was thrown into a flat and exploded in the kitchen — the same predominantly immigrant-populated suburb where an eight-year-old British boy was killed in a grenade attack less than two years ago. In Malmö, a grenade was tossed at a police station and exploded outside. So it has not, so far, been a very happy new year.

For Swedes, this has become a familiar theme. Gun violence is on the rise, with daylight shootings and without regard for bystanders. In the past nine years, reported and attempted murders involving guns have almost doubled. According to Swedish police, hand-grenade attacks (which were virtually unknown until a few years ago) are without parallel in countries not at war…

Yet it’s still hard for Swedish authorities to be frank about what’s going on. It’s widely known that gang members are mainly first- and second-generation immigrants, and problems are rampant in what police euphemistically refer to as ‘vulnerable areas’. Thus the gang wars serve as a constant reminder of Sweden’s failed migration and integration policies…

To that end, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched a page on its official website, purporting to address claims that no one is making, such as ‘the high level of immigration means that the system in Sweden is on the verge of collapse’. No one says collapse; but charges of trouble or violence are hard to deny if you pick up a newspaper. Another official campaign says the ‘no-go zones’ are in fact ‘go-go zones’. Try telling that to Gordon Grattidge, head of the paramedics union Alarm/Ambulansförbundet. He once told me that members are not allowed to enter some Swedish neighbourhoods without police protection.

Firefighters face the same reality. In November, some 50 cars were torched in a garage in a mainly immigrant suburb in Uppsala. Despite citizens repeatedly calling the emergency services, it took three hours before the fire department showed up — protected by police equipped with riot gear and machine-guns.

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