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Sweden set to hit a record number of shootings in 2020 despite coronavirus

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Despite the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, shootings in Sweden have not decreased. The country is about to mark a record figure of deadly shootings as the number of people killed by firearms has already outperformed that of 2019.

Over the weekend, a deadly shooting raised the number to 43 in 2020 in the culturally diverse southern city of Malmö, surpassing the cumulative number of gun deaths in 2019 with a whole month remaining in the year.

Linda H. Staaf, director of the national intelligence unit of the police, said that the number of deadly shootings was due to social work that had not been carried out decades before. Police believe many of the killings, usually referred to as no-go zones, are related to organized violence and vulnerable areas, Sveriges Radio says.

“It’s a lot to do with integration. It is about society as a whole withdrawing from these areas. Shops, government agencies, various community actors backed out and left residents stranded,” Staaf stated.

In 2018, when 45 people were killed as a result of gun crime, Sweden’s record for deadly shootings took place. Broadcaster Sveriges Radio estimates that it is “likely” that the record will be broken with a month remaining in 2020.

The broadcaster noted that almost half of the deadly shootings so far this year have happened in Stockholm County, which may be explained by intensified police scrutiny on criminal gangs that has led to conflict between various criminal groups.

However according to Ms Staaf, in these communities, there were “positive trends,” adding that ‘’an important part is that the police should be able to operate in the areas and pave the way for other social actors to establish themselves there.”

It was noticed earlier this year that shootings were on the rise, amid the Chinese coronavirus epidemic and the anti-gang Rimfrost police activity.

In July of 2019, Anders Thornberg, head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), clearly told Swedes to get used to the current high level of shooting and suggested that it could take five to ten years to deal with the crisis.

Shooting offenders disproportionately come from migrant families in some places, such as Malmö. All of the criminal gang leaders in Stockholm are also considered to be from migrant backgrounds.http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD0LgaOr9iU

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UK & Europe Correspondent

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Paulina Solarz
UK & Europe Correspondent
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