Sweden has around 62,000 persons linked to criminal gangs, police say

By Thomson Reuters Feb 23, 2024 | 3:10 AM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – About 62,000 persons are active in, or have connections to, criminal networks in Sweden, the police said on Friday, where the authorities have struggled for years to contain violence linked to organised crime.

Deadly shootings have more than tripled over the past decade in this Nordic nation of 10 million people, and are currently at levels much higher than neighbouring countries.

“We have identified 14,000 as active in criminal networks,” National Police Commissioner Petra Lundh told a media conference. “Moving over to persons with connections to these networks, here we estimate that there are 48,000 persons.”

In 2022, there were 62 deadly shootings in Sweden, Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer added.

“In 2023 although the number of deadly shootings fell slightly, preliminary figures show Sweden had nine times more deadly shootings than Norway, Denmark and Finland together,” he told the same media conference.

At the same time, the number of attacks involving explosives was the highest on record, he added.

“We are talking about system-threatening crime with a high propensity to violence that silences witnesses, threatens social workers, infiltrates authorities and political parties, that deals in drugs, cons elderly and our welfare systems,” Strommer said about the criminal networks.

September last year saw 11 deadly shootings, and marked the deadliest month in Sweden since 2019.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Louise Rasmussen, editing by Miral Fahmy)