Stats in Sweden show rise in violence after refugee surge

A memorial in the town square of Rinkeby honors a man who was shot and killed a week before Inside Your World arrived in Sweden. (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

STOCKHOLM (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Stockholm, Sweden is a quiet Nordic town bustling with people going about their day.

By all accounts, everything is calm on the surface.

But in a residential neighborhood, a man was killed on a Sunday morning after picking up an explosive device that sat outside a train station in Vårby gård.

A woman who came to the crime scene to pay her respects told Inside Your World the violence has become a new norm here.

"I think last one or two years, it’s getting much worse than before."

She's unsure why it's become worse.

The memorial for the man who died in Vårby gård collects with flowers and trinkets. Candles are lit all over the station entrance, burning in his memory.

Nearby, in Rinkeby, roses memorialize a man who died in a shooting a week before Inside Your World arrived to the Stockholm suburb.

Shops start to open int he town square, with the exception of a pizza shop.

That's because a young man was shot and killed there, execution style, at dinnertime.

"I don’t recognize my city anymore," a Rinkeby resident said, noting the violence in her area.

Stats provided by the Swedish government agency BRÅ show violence here is up.

Murder rose 11 percent in 2016 when compared to 2015's numbers.

Men specifically are killed by gunfire at an increased rate too - up 28 percent in that same time period.

Leading up to 2016, more than a quarter million refugees applied for asylum in Sweden, most fleeing war zones in Muslim-majority countries.

It's unclear whether that influx of new people is what's driving those numbers to rise - as people experience the violence in suburbs like Rinkeby, a place mostly populated by non-native Swedes.

But one thing is certain: the violence people are experiencing in Sweden is real.

Glen Sjögren has seen it.

As an officer in Malmö, on the southern coast of Sweden, he said some teens are even wearing body armor in high-crime areas.

"They wear the vest everyday. Even at night," he said, noting some of the teens are as young as 15.

The seasoned officer believes immigration is a small problem compared to what the country faces now: assimilating hundreds of thousands of people who are largely unfamiliar with Swedish culture.

"We have to integrate them into our society in a better way than we do right now."

He said getting the youth off the streets and employed is a way to start, but it's not going to be a simple fix.

The violence, only escalating after Inside Your World left the region, when a hand grenade was used in an attack targeting a police station in Malmö's suburb of Rosengård.


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