The past year there has been more than 50 shootouts in Gothenburg. Some of them on public streets. Many of them are gang conflicts.
A new report from the Swedish National Police shows that the number of criminal networks are spreading. And now it is no longer only in major cities, but in 55 areas spread across 22 cities.
It is especially in vulnerable areas where many immigrants live. It is very bad to in the southern suburbs of Stockholm, for example, Sodertalje, and also the Northeast Gothenburg. Common to the identified areas is that the criminals are trying to take control or affect the citizens and the surrounding.
It puts the police under great pressure. And it is particularly difficult for the police in small communities. One of those places is the city Laholm in Halland, about three minutes' drive from Helsingborg, Erik Nord, who is head of operations for the police in Västra Götaland, says.
"The criminal gangs are trying to find policemen and identify them and follow them both to and from work in an attempt to influence these police men, and that is completely unacceptable," he told Swedish Radio.
Among the 22 cities where criminals have taken over parts of the city are also Halmstad, Kalmar, Landskrona and Malmö.
In addition to the shootouts, there are also open drug dealing, extortions and internal gang conflicts with serious violence in public places, the report says. It means that people are scared and therefore do not dare contact the police or testify in court.
At the same time, it also appears from the report that several of the areas where criminal gangs operate, are also areas which the previous Swedish government called LUA areas, which are characterized by low levels of education, unemployment, high crime and in some cases greater proportion of immigrants. In each of these areas, according to the report, parallel societies are being established.
The report from the National Police will now form the basis of concrete action plans to tackle the many gang activities.
"We have to go out and meet the citizens and try to deliver the policing they want. At the same time we will try to identify the criminal networks that have a higher form of organization, for those who sell drugs on the street, have someone who is selling to them. We have to work on several fronts to gain access to the breeding grounds these criminal activities is based upon, " Erik Nord says to Swedish Radio.
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