Teens roam streets with rifles as crime swamps Sweden

Teens roam streets with rifles as crime swamps Sweden, by Bojan Pancevski.

The blast was so powerful that it shook windows a mile away. Ahmad’s first thought was that someone had thrown yet another bomb at the police.

He was right. On Wednesday night an explosive device was hurled at the police station in Rosengard, a troubled area of Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city.

Attacks on the police are increasingly frequent. Rosengard’s force works from a black fortress of reinforced concrete with narrow windows and a 10ft-high electric fence. …

More than 36 per cent of young Swedish women say they feel unsafe at night. The authorities have admitted they are unable to investigate rape cases immediately because the resources are focused on gang crime. “We are forced to choose between two evils,” the police said.

The crime surge is mainly confined to so-called “areas of social exclusion”, a code for neighbourhoods such as Rosengard that are predominantly populated by immigrants. They are not classic ghettos — the infrastructure and services are better than in areas of central London — but these communities are plagued by high crime rates and unemployment.

In Malmo, where a fifth of the 340,000 inhabitants are under 18, children as young as 14 roam the streets with Kalashnikov assault rifles and bulletproof vests. The average age of gang members is 22, the vast majority of them hailing from migrant families.

Sweden has pursued a liberal immigration policy for more than a generation; its government speaks of being a “humanitarian superpower” for having taken in a large number of asylum-seekers.

After the migrant crisis of 2015, when more than 160,000 people sought asylum, the policy was abruptly changed. …

“We have really reached the bottom: people use machineguns and hand grenades — they want to kill,” said Zoran Markovic, the former chief of community policing in Rosengard. … The situation has drastically worsened in the past two years. …

Alongside the pockets of violence, Sweden continues to flourish, with low crime rates and a booming economy. Its citizens read about gangland wars with disbelief, although crime is increasingly spilling into middle-class areas. …

When I visited Rinkeby last week a group of youths in shell suits aggressively asked why I was in their neighbourhood. Their tone turned more respectful when they found out that I am from the Balkans – the homeland of many local criminal kingpins. Born and raised in Rinkeby, they declared themselves not Swedish but Somali, Afghan or Lebanese. …

Stockholm’s Mayor, Karin Wanngard, protested that Rinkeby was a “fine neighbourhood” and “teeming with vitality”. A spate of shootings forced her to change her tune. The “growing brutality” among gangs has become “unprecedented” she said earlier this month. …

It is taboo to make a link between immigrants and crime … Criticism of Sweden’s immigration policy has been the prerogative of the unsavoury far right for so long that Sanandaji’s book, soon to be published in English, was blacklisted by some public libraries, despite praise from experts. …

Statistics published last week revealed the percentage of women who reported being victims of sex crimes rose from 1.4 per cent in 2012 to 4.1 per cent in 2016. In 2014 a study on the geography of outdoor rape in Stockholm found two-thirds of the suspects were non-Swedish citizens.

And the whole article didn’t even mention “Muslim” or “Islam”!