Fri. Jun 18th, 2021

A spate of shootings throughout Sweden has seen the nation move from one of the lowest rates of gun violence in Europe to the second highest, sparking concerns of a “social contagion,” according to a report released on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference following the release of the report, a researcher from BRA, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, Hradilova Selin, laid out the organization’s concerns, after Sweden rose “from almost the bottom of the ranking in Europe to very high up.”

We do not know why. It is a kind of social contagion. If a shooting takes place, another usually takes place close in time and space.

The Scandinavian country of 10 million reported a rate of 1.2 cases of lethal gun violence per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, an increase from 18 years ago, where the total number of fatal shooting incidents were at 0.71 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Deadly shootings in Scandinavia had previously been declining but there was an uptick in incidents following the mid-2000s and they have since continued to rise, compared to the majority of other European nations, where numbers have been falling.

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Examining the causes behind the fatal shootings, the BRA’s report found that eight out of ten deadly gun incidents occurred in a “criminal environment,” with officials fearing gang violence could be behind the rise, sparked by the drugs trade and a lack of confidence in the police.

Among 22 European nations that were analyzed in the report, which was produced by BRA, only one country, Croatia, had a higher number of gun deaths per capita in the last four years.

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