STOCKHOLM, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Forty-eight people have been shot dead so far in Sweden this year, making 2022 the deadliest year the country has seen since 2016, the Swedish Police Authority said on Friday.
The previous annual record was set in 2020, when 47 people died of gun-related injuries.
In recent years, most fatal shootings occurred in the Stockholm region. The Police Authority told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) in August that the situation was "particularly serious, especially in Stockholm, because many of the most serious criminal conflicts take place there." The authority said it was working "to increase its preparedness to prevent gross violence and gang crime."
"Despite the fact that we have made the largest investment in history in law enforcement and have more police officers than ever before, and despite record numbers of criminals being arrested and sentenced to long prison terms, the shootings continue," Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Morgan Johansson said. "This is because for every perpetrator arrested, there is at least one other who is ready to fill the shoes that become empty."
A report presented by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention last spring showed that Sweden was the only one among 22 compared countries in Europe where the trend of fatal shootings was on a steady increase.
The rise in fatal shootings in Sweden began in the mid-2000s, but the increase gained new momentum in 2013 and has since continued.
According to the report, eight out of ten fatal shootings in Sweden took place in a gang environment. The Police Authority identified 61 areas in the country that were "particularly vulnerable" to street crime and drug trafficking.
Crime and gun violence topped the agenda in Sweden's recent general elections, and politicians from all major parties vowed to tackle the soaring crime levels. The elections saw the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats become the country's second largest party with more than 20 percent of popular support. ■