The Swedish Refugee/ Immigration crisis has really held its own as one of the most divisive news stories of recent times. Ask two separate people and they will tell you, with absolute certainty, that there categorically IS/ IS NOT a problem with Sweden’s immigration policy. Both sides will refer to Sweden’s crime statistics as being either completely unchanged or massively spiked due to immigration. So what is the truth?
Let us look at the raw facts. According to Sweden’s offical crime statistics Total crimes per 100’000 population increased slightly ( roughly 7% increase from 2005 – 2015), however the statistics show the crime rate remaining fairly steady within the 11’000 to 12’800 range, bouncing regularly between the two figures since 1986. It is also true that sexual crimes have had a broader definition attributed to them since 2005, which explains any increase, and makes this a pretty open and shut case…
Or does it?
We are going to need to get way more in depth with the figures before we come to any reasonable conclusions. First, lets look at the specific types of crimes that Immigrants and refugees are being accused of.
As we mentioned before Sexual crimes have increased dramatically from 2005 to 2015. Referencing the Official stats again, we can see sexual crimes have increases from 130 per 100’000 pop. to 184 per 100’000 pop. This is a 42% increase in sexual violence with population increase taken into account. But can this be explained by the changing legislature surrounding these statistics?
“The number of reported rape offences has increased over the last ten years (2006-2015). The increase can be partially explained by the entry into force of new sex offence legislation on 1 April 2005. This legislation entails, among other things, that certain acts which were previously classified as sexual exploitation are now classified as rape. The effect of the statutory change appeared in the statistics such that the number of reported offences in respect of sexual coercion and exploitation declined in the years immediately following the statutory change while the number of reported rapes increased”
– Bre.se ‘Reported sex offences’
On the surface this seems to back up the theory of legislation change accounting for the increased reports, however those increased rape reports have merely been moved from the sexual exploitation to the rape statistics. If you look at sexual crimes as a whole, containing both rape and sexual assault/ exploitation figures together, we can account for the switching around of definitions. This lends evidence that the 42% increase in sexual crimes could be much more than just statistical inflation.
What about Knife crime and other violent offences ? Well we can see a clear increase between 2006 and 2016 of 15% with knife crimes, with no discernible changes to the definitions to account for this. Assault and aggravated assault sees similar rises between 2004 and 2015 of just over 16%. And a *huge* increase in Murder, manslaughter and assault resulting in death of 50% between the same time frame.
But this doesn’t prove that immigrants or refugees are to blame for violence? Well according to Police records “The majority (71 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2015 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Skåne. This has been the trend since 2010. The largest increase was seen in the Väst region, where the number of cases more than doubled, from 14 cases in 2014 to 34 cases in 2015.”
‘Malmo’ (the famous Refugee City) is by far the largest population in Skåne county. Roughly three times the size of the next largest town, Helsingborg. Stokholm is reported to have a 27% Immigrant population. These areas that are home to the majority of the lethal crime are also home to the largest Immigrant and refugee populations. At this point however, the evidence is circumstantial, growing maybe, but still nothing concrete.
Welfare crime is much harder to get a handle on, although the ‘fraud and other acts of dishonesty’ crimes have risen by 197% since 2005, we only have reports on welfare crime since 2008. That being said Tax offences do seem to be behind the majority of Fraud increases and it looks unlikely that immigration or refugees are responsible for these crimes. (no statistics on how many legally using the welfare system).
Organised crime has increased across the board, especially with drug smuggling and human trafficking. 177% and 115% increases respectively, between 2006-2015 and 2007-2016.
There definitely seems to be something going on with Sweden’s crime rates over the past decade. We will be looking into why this might be happening, who’s to blame and whether the raw stats give you a full picture in our next few Articles.
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