MS Risk Blog

Swedish Gang War: Problem and Solution

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Denmark has implemented temporary strict border control in Sweden after a series of bombings and shootings throughout this year. The Danish government has put the border control within Øresund bridge which will remain in place until May 2020. The bridge is separates Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, and Swedish third’s largest city, Malmo. These two cities have been the major location of the shootings and bombings that have happened this year. Authorities believed that all the shootings and bombings were orchestrated by organized crime based in Sweden, which currently is in the middle of gang war. Since the beginning of this year, 13 bombings have happened in Copenhagen. The gang war has also heavily occurred in Sweden. Sweden’s national police has been called out to more than 100 blasts this year, with 30 of them happening in the past 2 months. In Malmo alone, 29 explosions and 5 fatal shootings have happened this year. The most recent incident happened on 10 November, when a 15 year-old teenager was killed during a shootout near a pizza place in Malmo. The rise of gang-related violence in Denmark is caused by no other than the increase of participation within organized crime among Swedish nationals.

Authorities has successfully pinpointeds several specific demographis for gang members who are involved in the gang war. It is known that most of the perpetrators are young males under the age of 30, unemployed, with immigrant and poor backgrounds, and also do not possess high school diplomas. These particular demographics have contributed to the rise of organized crime participation in Sweden, which have also been caused by the feelings of non-belonging in the country. These people are not even fluent in Swedish and grew up in a neighbourhood which sees drug dealing as being the most successful occupation within the area. Authorities has been addressing this particular neighbourhood as a “vulnerable area”. In this neighbourhood, several social issues such as high unemployment, segregation faced by immigrants, school drop-outs, and drug trafficking have occurred. According to these facts, it is believed that Swedish government should try to implement preventive action to tackle these social issues from becoming factors of organized crime involvement among Swedish people. Decreasing the growth of these particular social issues will need an implementation of long-term policies. For example, a long-term Swedish language education and counselling for immigrants will eventually eliminate language barriers, which are believed to be one of the factors of segregation faced by foreign-born inhabitants. However, so far the Swedish government only considers action which directly targets the gang-related violence.

The Swedish government has granted the authorities new powers to tackle gang-related violence through a new policy called the 34-point plan. With this policy, the Swedish police will be able to deploy spyware which will intercept encrypted communication within a particular device in order of conduct espionage towards suspects. Other than bypassing encryption, this spyware will also enable authorities to turn on microphones and cameras within the devices of the suspects. This new power received by the authorities will hopefully create a safer society since the violent gangs often use encrypted services for communication. Unfortunately, this policy is not enough to produce a long-term solution. To create a long-term outcome, the need to eliminate the factors of gang-related violence must also be addressed, not only the violence itself. The Swedish government should focus on creating policies which will improve the quality of life and decrease the social issues within the so called “vulnerable area”. By doing this, it will eventually lead to the decrease of gang-related violence, though it is likely not impossible to eliminate it totally.