Asylum home fire
A fire at a house used for asylum-seeker accommodation in Sigtuna, north of Stockholm, in October. Credit: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

More than 90 arson attacks on asylum seekers' housing

Last year 92 arson attacks took place against existing or planned asylum housing across Sweden, figures from the police show.

For the first time, the Swedish Police National Operations Department (NOA) has compiled a survey of fires at asylum homes in 2016, Swedish TV News (SVT) reports. Out of 112 fires, 92 were considered arson.

But as there are no previous records, section manager Ola Stoltz at NOA says it is difficult to say whether or not the number of arson attacks has increased.

“We don’t know for certain that the number of arson attacks has increased. Because at the same time, the number of asylum homes increased heavily at the end of 2015 and in 2016, which makes it more difficult to make comparisons,” Stoltz told SVT. 

Out of the 112 fires at asylum accomodation in 2016, 20 started by accident, while NOA labels the remaining 92 fires arson. 

While 37 of the arson-attack fires were thought to have been started by residents of the homes, and two were established as having been started by someone from the outside, 53 fires were started by unknown perpetrators. 

“It’s one of the most difficult crimes to investigate. That’s why we often don’t know who started these fires,” Stoltz said.

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