In September 2020, a statement from national police chief Mats Löfving on Swedish state radio stirred up a lot of dust, drawing attention to the link between criminal “clans” arriving in the country and rising crime statistics. The EKOT broadcast the following dialogue between the host and Löfving:
The statement sparked heated debates, with many public figures simply describing the announcement as a xenophobic conspiracy theory. Sweden’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said he did not want to link crime to various minorities, but rather described the situation as a social and economic problem that needed to be addressed.
Henrik Jönsson, a youtuber who describes himself as a libertarian entrepreneur and activist, posted on a channel with nearly seventy-five thousand followers video, in which he speaks of the clans mentioned in the statement of the National Police Chief.
Jönsson describes the clan as a form of social organization. He talks about groups of immigrants present in Sweden who come from Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. These groups based on family relationships operate under different rules than European societies. They have a collectivist approach to the individualistic approach of modern societies. Based on this, Swedish society considers the enforcement of the rights of the individual to be the most important, while the other considers the community. The clan is characterized by a patriarchal arrangement where the head of the family distributes the wealth of the community. He notes that all societies were initially organized as clans, with the Twelve tribes of the Vikings and Abraham in the Bible just like the medieval ruling dynasties.
Jönsson described the methods of striving for integration.
According to the video’s author, the reason for his belief in integration politics is what he calls the Swedish sense of superiority. He believes that because of this, Swedes see themselves as world leaders, feel that they need to set an example to the world, and whoever does not share their principles is underdeveloped and needs help. He sees this as a kind of hidden “cultural-imperialist arrogance” that unequivocally shows that everyone in the world should follow their path if given the opportunity. He adds that part of the sense of superiority is also that Swedes see themselves as tolerant, straightforward and defenders of multiculturalism.
In 2017, Facts on Migration, Integration and Crime in Sweden published a report the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to refute the connections. The statistics have been updated with additional data since its release, and in addition to mere figures, they are also looking for answers to the question of whether Muslims are in the majority and whether there is a link between terrorist acts and migration.
The study states that the number of fatal acts of death is not, only violence with firearms has increased in the country. In 2017, there were 113 fatal acts of death. This number includes all acts of violence that cause death, not just those committed with a firearm. This number represents 1.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Between 2002 and 2017, it fluctuated between 68 and 113 cases, representing a value between 0.71 and 1.21. Since 2015, this number has been higher than in previous years. In 2011, there were 17 fatal injuries with firearms, while in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, there were 33, 30, 40 and 45 cases.
The report also points out that the number of sexual abuses has also increased. He sees the reason for this as a change in the legal environment, the way statistics are produced and the more open social dialogue of the last ten years.
The report also includes research on offenders of non-Swedish origin. The research dates from 2005 and finds that the majority of people with a foreign background cannot be linked to committing crimes, but are two and a half times more likely to be suspected. The research does not cover statistics among offenders and identifies the socio-economic environment as a possible cause.
However, not all reports read the same. The annual published in 2019 criminal report presents the circumstances of the average Swedish population between the ages of 18 and 64 becoming a victim of crime, the fear of crime and the attitude of victims to justice. Analysis of the statistics highlights that the number of threats, harassment, violent attacks and robberies has steadily increased until 2018.
Sweden’s population is growing steadily, growing by nearly a hundred thousand in 2019, mostly as a result of immigration. Between 2009 and 2019, there was a population growth of nearly one million, with 986,907 people, at the beginning of the decade in a country with a population similar to that of Hungary. The state provides favorable conditions for this, and the rules on the acquisition of citizenship, family reunification and access to the social welfare system in Sweden are one of the most permissible in the European Union. However, the ongoing social debate may shed new light on how to address the issue.
(Cover image: About 200 people protested in Malmö, plus 28 countries for human and refugee rights on February 27, 2016. Photo: Pacific Press / Getty Images Hungary)