Sweden hits record with 60 shot dead in 2022
STOCKHOLM, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Sixty people have been shot dead in Sweden this year, a record in modern times, the government said on Monday.
Sweden has been hit by an epidemic of shootings in recent years which police and authorities blame on criminal gangs that operate in cities like the capital Stockholm.
"Deadly gun violence has increased and unfortunately has hit a new, bloody record this year," Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer told reporters.
Strommer said Sweden's sixty shooting deaths this year compared to four in Norway, four in Denmark and two in Finland. The deaths are the tip of an iceberg of violence and organised crime that have put down deep roots in parts of society, Strommer said.
Last year, 45 people were shot dead in Sweden. In 2012, the total was 17, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
Strommer said the government would now set up a special council within the Justice Ministry to coordinate the fight against gang crime.
"No decent society can accept that someone is shot dead once a week ... on the open street," Strommer said.
Sweden has gone from having one of the lowest incidences of gang violence to one of the highest over the last 20 years, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
The previous, Social Democrat-led government beefed up an under-resourced police force and introduced tougher sentences for gun crimes, among other measures to tackle gang crime.
But its failure to reverse the trend was one of the major reasons it lost September's election to a right-wing coalition which promised even tougher measures.
The current government has said it wants to set up stop-and-search zones, to double punishments for gang-related crime and to expand authorities' ability to eavesdrop on criminals as part of as part of what Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said was the biggest effort to fight organised crime in modern Swedish history.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.