Police investigate a recent shooting in Malmö in June.
Police investigate a recent shooting in Malmö in June. Credit: Drago Prvulovic/TT.

Gun violence in Sweden surpasses neighboring countries, researchers say

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New research says Sweden sees more deadly shootings per capita than its closest European neighbors, and the low number of gun crimes solved by police here may be part of the reason why.

Sweden experiences four to five times more fatal shootings per capita than Norway and Germany, according to the ongoing research from Malmö University, Karolinska Hospital and Stockholm University. 

The areas with the most shootings are Sweden's major cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The victims as well as the perpetrators also tend to be younger than those in other the countries. 

However, most other rates of violence crime, such as assaults or domestic abuse, are dropping in Sweden. Researchers also point out that the overall homicide rate is lower in Sweden than it was in the 1990s.

Researchers say the reason why Sweden experiences a higher rate of deadly shootings is unclear.

"In this research, we can not really say anything about reasons," one of the reseachers Manne Gerell tells Radio Sweden. "Something that we note in the study is that this increase is mainly taking place in the age group of 15 to 29 year old males. So, whatever the reason is, that's where we should look."

Another possible explanation may be that a lower percentage of crimes involving gun violence are solved by Swedish police when compared to other countries.

Nationally, around 50 percent of shootings are solved, though the percentage in the big cities is only about 25 percent.

"Countries with low firearm violence also have high rates of solving gun crimes. In Germany, they are close to 90 percent and in Finland more than 90 percent. In Sweden, as gun crimes increased, the proportion of crimes solved has also declined steadily since the late 1990s," says criminologist Amir Rostami, who was part of the research team.

Statistically, according to the research, Sweden has a similar number of shootings per capita as southern Italy.

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