Stockholm, Aug 8 (IANS) Gun violence has been on the rise in Sweden in recent years, according to researchers.
According to Swedish police statistics, 42 people were killed and 120 wounded in 334 reported shootings in 2019, Xinhua news agency reported.
In the first half of this year, 20 people have been killed and 56 wounded in 163 shootings.
“We see an increase in murders and attempted murders in criminal environment in Stockholm,” Joakim Sturup, researcher and analyst with Stockholm Police, said on Friday.
Sturup has investigated murders and attempted murders in Stockholm during the period from 2011 to 2018, when cases where automatic weapons were used had increased by 50 per cent.
“During the same period, we also see an increase in empty cartridge cases left at the crime scene. On average, there were six in 2011 and up to twelve in 2018, so it is doubled,” said Sturup.
Damage from the violence has also increased.
“We also see an escalation in the severity of the violence. In 2011, there were four injuries per victim. In 2018 it rose to eleven gunshot wounds.
“We are now analyzing the figures for 2019 and 2020 so far, and the preliminary figures show that the trend with automatic weapons continues,” said Sturup.
In addition to increased violence, more people have been dragged in as collateral damage.
On Sunday, a 12-year-old girl was killed after being hit by a stray bullet in a gang shooting at a petrol station car park in Norsborg, south of Stockholm.
“The risk naturally increases for the public when automatic weapons are involved… There are more and more showdowns in public places,” said Sturup.
Criminologist Mikael Rying at the National Operations Department of the Police said that that at least 10 people have died by accident in shootings in the last decade.
Despite police tightening surveillance and toughening sentences for drugs- and weapons-related crimes recently, bombings, shootings and gang-related crimes in Sweden have not decreased.