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Organized crime exists throughout Sweden


Organized crime is now present throughout Sweden in all contexts, according to new research.
“It is not only linked to vulnerable neighbourhoods. We need to make it difficult for professional criminals by targeting their earnings,” says Amir Rostami, docent of criminology at University of Gävle.

Foto: Magnus Hallgren/DN/TT

Foto: Magnus Hallgren/DN/TT

Amir Rostami, docent of criminology at University of Gävle, and Hernan Mondani, docent of sociology at Umeå University—both are also affilitated with The Institute for Futures Studies—recently presented their report, “Kriminella på kartan” at the Ministry of Finance. The report shows that organized crime has an extensive geographical spread in Sweden.

Gang specialists cover large areas

According to the researchers organized crime is present throughout Sweden, but there are differences between different areas and criminal environments. Motorcycle gangs with clubhouses are widespread, while mafia-like organizations are almost exclusively found in Gothenburg and Stockholm.

However, some municipalities stand out. In Botkyrka and Södertälje, for example, major spillover effects are seen even outside the vulnerable areas. Signficantly, organized crime has existed for a long time in these municipalities. Furthermore, the researchers find so-called "mobile individuals".

“ These individuals cover large areas, are very criminally active, and they are accountable for between 45-65 percent of the crimes. They are also behind the spread of organized crime, as they create new contacts and establish new markets,” Hernan Mondani says.

Amir Rostami

Amir Rostami

“Organized crime tends to spread to new areas and arenas. For this reason we need more collaboration both at local and national level, but also between different municipalities such as Botkyrka and Södertälje,” says Amir Rostami.

Criminals collaborate more

The two researchers find that the number of collaborative offences has increased significantly. In the case of violent crime, there has been a sharp increase of between 60 and 111 per cent, depending on the number of people involved, compared to the year 1995.

However, in financial crime collaboration has increased the most: between 116 and 371 percent.

“Such crime involves fraud against the state, tax offences and welfare offences, but also fraud against individuals and these criminal profits are large. The criminal economy is estimated to have a turnover of 100 to 150 billion annually,” says Amir Rostami.

An ecosystem of multicriminals

Organized crime is a multi-criminal ecosystem of groups and individuals with different abilities, subculture and organization. If we only focus on the shootings and forget that they also engage in economic crime, we miss an important source of how they organize.

For Amir Rostami, a key to tackling organized crime is to make it difficult for the actors to organize themselves. Here it is important to avoid tunnel visions in which we allow shootings or vulnerable neighbourhoods to overshadow all other crime problems.

Actions against organized crime need to focus on strengthened controls of financial and subsidy systems, thereby reducing their room for action. There is also a great focus on the police when other authorities can have a greater effect on organized crime,” says Amir Rostami.

Text: Douglas Öhrbom

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2023-04-26
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