Opinion

De-Policing Sweden: ‘No-Go Zones’ Perpetuate Violence as Cops are Understaffed, Overrun

The United States has no shortage of ideological zealots. But in this case, I’m talking about the de-policing of the kindhearted, generous, and formerly idyllic Sweden. In particular, about its infamous government-denied no-go zones, which its government continues to refute despite cries from residents and police for help fighting the increase in violence. And what has happened that may point to the violent changes in Swedish society? Shouldn’t we at least look at imprudent immigration policies? The number of non-assimilating “migrants” to Sweden from the Middle East is devastating this Scandinavian country and decimating its police force.

According to Breitbart.com, the cries for help are not figurative. “Help us, help us,” Dan Eliasson, Swedish National Police Commissioner, said last summer during a press conference to discuss Sweden’s growing criminal networks and rising crime. He said operating in Sweden’s 61 no-go zones are about 200 networks comprising at least 5,000 criminals. Göteborgs-Posten reports that many of these areas are heavily populated with migrants.

Swedish police are dealing with an extraordinary degree of violence, particularly in the suburbs. Reports of car burnings and shootings seem to be routine. Though Eliasson doesn’t believe Sweden has passed a point “beyond repair,” he said, “It must not go any further; we must reverse the trend.”

The trend he’s talking about is toward the loss of any semblance of a social contract between Swedish society, including the government, and many migrants. Eliasson believes people moving to Sweden should want to “participate in society,” doing things like getting jobs and paying taxes—and, I’ll add, not committing crimes.

The situation for the police has become so dire, there is an ongoing exodus of cops. One report said 80 percent of Swedish police officers are considering leaving the police force. A Norwegian broadcaster, NRK, reports as many as three Swedish cops per day leave the force because they feel the government isn’t supporting them by providing the tools they need to fight this crime epidemic effectively.

Swedish police Sergeant Peter Larsson told NRK that they are experiencing a “major crisis.” He said the police cannot investigate crime without enough staffing. They obviously won’t be able to deter it either, not without a sufficient number of officers. He added that the poor working environment for officers means many are looking for “something else.”

This headline from an express.co.uk story tells the tale: “SWEDEN’S ‘NO-GO ZONE’ CRISIS: Three police officers injured after being ATTACKED by thugs.”

A police spokeswoman, Eva Nilsson, issued comments on the attack. She said that while on routine patrol, officers stopped to check on a suspicious man. During the contact, a mob gathered and attacked the cops. Suspects hit, kicked, and threw bottles and glass at the officers. Estimates put the crowd at 20-30 people. The officers were transported to the hospital for treatment and later released. No arrests of suspects were mentioned in the article. I assume there were none.

Larsson added that the violence against cops, and also firefighters and paramedics, has gotten worse. He spoke of criminals throwing stones at officers, setting fires, and committing other forms of violence. Reportedly, police need to escort fire engines and ambulances into many areas out of concern for the increasing attacks on firefighters and paramedics.

Breitbart reports “increasing levels of criminality from sex attacks at music festivals, hand grenade attacks, and violence toward the police in areas populated mostly by migrants.” A Gothenburg suburb resident, Tina Svensson, noted, “Crime has reached a fever-pitch and police rarely arrive.” The de-policing of Sweden is occurring. To what end, we can only contemplate.

She added that the crime she’s experiencing in her neighborhood “may not be what you would expect when you are out walking your dog.” Svensson described a violent incident involving a Norwegian broadcaster who, along with another man, was shot “with some kind of automatic weapons.” She added that people were afraid to travel to her suburb and told her they would be afraid to live there.

Swedish police say the situation has gotten so bad that in areas with no-go zones, officers rarely risk leaving their police stations, which have become more like military forts. All this violence against the Swedes is occurring while the government continues to deny or at least downplay the problem.

Sergeant Larsson says the government has tried to cover up crimes involving migrants. Even Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has denied no-go zones exist. The government claims that using the word crisis “is a step too far.” They promise money to increase police recruiting efforts. Larsson remains skeptical, saying, “If they [the government] choose not to make a real commitment now, it’s going to end in disaster.”

While the Swedes, generally, still hold social-democrat leanings on social welfare policies, reports say there has been a swing to the right by the electorate. This swing is apparently out of concern for the increase in violence and fears of a migrant population, many of whom appear to have no interest in becoming “Swedish.” Political observers note this national shift will likely express itself in the upcoming elections.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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