Swedish police rope off an area for investigation.
Worry over crime has increased markedly over the last year. Credit: Noella Johansson/TT

Survey: Growing fears about crime and violence in Sweden

Lecturer: Recent shootings may have affected result.
1:02 min

One out of every five Swedes sees violence and crime as the most worrying issue facing society today, according to a survey from the polling company Sifo.

Violence and crime eclipsed the environment, schools, healthcare, and even immigration as the issue causing the most stress among respondents.

A majority of respondents (54 percent) said their level of concern about developments in Sweden has increased over the past year, with 61 percent of women reporting increased anxiety compared to 46 percent of men. Only three percent of those polled said they were less worried than last year. 

The poll underlines how public opinion has been affected by a string of shootings in the major cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö recently.

Maria Solevid, a politics lecturer at Gothenburg University, said media coverage has probably played a role in how the public views violence and crime in Sweden.

"It’s very hard to disentangle how these events affect how people answer," she told Radio Sweden. "Events like these, when they happen quite near someone asking about them, they are of course at the top of the mind of the respondents who think that this is a worrisome issue.”

Respondents in the south of Sweden expressed the greatest worry about violence and crime, with 24 percent saying it was their main concern. This is compared to the 18 percent in the north of Sweden and 17 percent in central Sweden who ranked the issue as their biggest stress.

Crime was far ahead of the other issues. Only 12 percent of respondents reported that they were most worried about immigration, 10 percent about the environment, and 7 percent about both schools and integration.

Sifo based the survey on 1,000 telephone interviews carried out between 20 and 23 February 2017.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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