Police install CCTV to tackle gang crime

2:39 min

Police in the southern Swedish city of Malmo have said that they will install surveillance cameras on the streets of one particular area in an attempt to tackle gang criminality there. Newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports that the residential area of Seved in central Malmo has to a large extent been taken over by a gang of youths and the police are determined to reassert law and order.

The area of Seved in central Malmo, and in particular a few specific streets there, has for several years now had a problem with criminal gangs. Residents have been witness to gunfire, violence, threats and brazenly open drug dealing.

Swedish Radio News reports that the CCTV cameras will only be installed on a temporary basis and for a month, meaning that the police can install them without seeking permission.

Police Superintendent Henrik Stiernblad explains the thinking behind the security cameras:

“The idea is not that this shall replace normal police work in any way, but rather that this is an important tool in collecting evidence when it comes to identifying criminals and prosecuting them.”

Installing CCTV cameras in a public place would normally require permission from the county administration. The law does though give police the option of deciding themselves to install cameras on a temporary basis and in a particular area, if they judge that there is a risk for serious criminality or criminal damage.

Swedish Radio News reports that Malmo police hope to obtain permission to permanently install cameras in the area, given that the criminality is so well documented there.

“The gangs consist of a small number of youths who engage in criminality, threatening behaviour and criminal damage,” says Superintendent Stiernblad. “But there are some who are involved in even more serious criminal behaviour.”

Local councillor Ilmar Reepalu visited the worst affected area of Seved – Rasmusgatan – with newspaper Dagens Nyheter. While the councillor was there, young men made no effort whatsoever to conceal the open selling of drugs. The newspaper describes the street as lawless and in the hands of a gang.

Dagens Nyheter says that the problem of criminality in Seved and other areas of Malmo such as Rosengård is complex with several social and ethnic dimensions. It sees the main causes as high youth unemployment, dependency on social welfare and segregated residential areas.

And Superintendent Stiernblad says that other areas in Malmo in addition to Seved may also see CCTV cameras introduced.

“We are now looking into the possibility of surveillance cameras in general in Malmo, as we’ve seen the positive effects that they have. Questions of personal integrity are of course extremely important, but we cannot afford to discard the usage of surveillance cameras today.”