A web of deceit: what is the Swedish government hiding?

Throughout modern history, Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries have been seen as a sort of modern utopia, with excellent education systems, high literacy rates, low poverty, and some of the lowest crime rates in the world. In fact, from 1990 to 2015, Sweden’s homicide rate reportedly decreased from 1.3 to 1.1 per 100 000 people.

The Swedish government have also attempted to defend the notion that influx of refugees in recent years does not contribute to an increase in crime, and justified this notion by reporting that Swedish citizens, who are born to two Swedish parents, commit more crimes than immigrants and refugees.

Now things seem all fine and dandy don’t they? Immigrants are not an issue. The problem with this claim, however, is that the Swedish government has shown skewed statistical figures in order to paint a prettier picture. It may be a fact that more crimes are committed in total by Swedes than immigrants, but what the Swedish government refuses to take into account is that the native Swedish population is far larger than that of immigrants and refugees, and thus does not prove whether, on average, Swedish natives are more inclined to commit crimes than refugees. Official figures show that 1 676 264 Swedish citizens are of foreign decent, and that relaxed policies on political asylum and immigration have contributed to 67 percent of the foreign-born population’s growth since the year 2000.

With Sweden’s estimated population as of 2017 being 9 916 678, the immigrant population only makes up approximately 16.9% of the total population, with around half being of Muslim or Arab decent. For this reason, the only calculation that will show whether or not immigrants are more inclined to commit crimes is by calculating the crime rate amongst the immigrant population, and comparing it to the crime rate for the native Swedish population, namely total population minus immigrant population. Finally, the claim being made by the Swedish government is based on studies conducted by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, which consists of data collected from a sample of 11 900 people, and is thus not a claim based on the official crime statistics which include all reported crimes in Sweden for the year.

Not only has the Swedish government failed to sufficiently justify the claim that Swedish natives are more inclined to commit crimes than immigrants, but there is a lack of available information that would substantiate this claim.

In 2015, Sweden’s total number of reported crimes was approximately 1 510 000 according to the Stockholm Criminology Symposium (see the heading, “Processed Offences”). The total number of crimes reported by police that were committed by asylum seekers was over 5 000. Considering that there were approximately 32 215 refugees accepted into Sweden in total in 2015, the crime rate for refugees is around 15.52%. Unfortunately, there are very limited figures to work with as the Swedish government does not state how many refugees remain in the country from previous years.

The other information that the Swedish government refuses to produce, are sources which prove their claim that those of Swedish background are more likely to commit crimes than those of foreign backgrounds. Whilst Swedish crime stats are freely available on the internet, there is no report that has been publicly released that shows figures for the number of crimes committed by native Swedes versus those crimes committed by immigrants and refugees.

In summary, the Swedish government has failed in every sphere to disprove the allegation that immigrants and refugees are less likely to commit crimes, as not only are there no sources that track how many refugees are in Sweden at the current time (thus preventing members of the public from calculating crime rates for themselves), but there are no figures that identify the demographics of criminals, and whether or not they are Swedish natives.

In most countries, demographic information is freely available, and one can see for themselves how much crime is committed by different groups, whether by gender, race or income. My question to the Swedish government is why this information is not publicly available for their crime statistics, and why, whenever they provide a comparison between the actions of Swedish natives compared to immigrants and refugees, there is never a source provided that can be consulted as a confirmation of this claim.

Clearly they are hiding something that they don’t want the general public to know. Clearly, things in the Nordic “utopia” are not as perfect as the media make them out to be.

About the Author
Mathew Cohen's areas of expertise are business intelligence, data analytics and research. He holds a BCom Law Degree, and is currently studying his Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Business Management. His work experience includes being a data specialist for Ocean Basket International, and he is currently a writer for the 90min football media platform.
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