A poll has found that a staggering 78% of swedes would not object to the armed forces being mobilised onto the streets to take on violent criminal gangs.
The poll by the Gothenburg-based SOM Institute also found that 54% of people in Sweden see the deployment of military personnel as a “very important task”.
The Scandinavian country has seen violent crimes markedly increase over the past decade. Homicides have been rising since 2013. Currently, only Croatia has a higher murder rate in Europe. At the beginning of the last decade, Sweden was among the safer countries, boasting the lowest rate of gun violence out of 22 EU nations ranked in a previous study.
The data was published by Brå, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention and has caused a sensation in law enforcement since it was released late last month.
On the back of the Brå report, a police chief publicly linked soaring numbers of shootings to the large migrant population in his city, which happens to be Gothenburg. The suburb of Hjällbo has gained notoriety for gang warfare over the past decade that has heightened calls for military intervention.
“It is no longer a secret today that much of the problem of gang and network crime with the shootings and explosions have been linked to migration to Sweden in recent decades,” wrote Gothenburg police commissioner Erik Nord in the Göteborgs-Posten.
Sexual assault has also been on the rise. In February, a chilling study by top academics at Lund University in Malmö revealed that nearly six in ten convicted rapists come from a migrant background and nearly half are born outside the country.
The SOM poll painted a pronounced domestic preference by citizens for the deployment of their armed forces. Only 34% strongly favour peacekeeping missions. By contrast, 73% of Swedes want the armed forces to focus on challenges within the country’s borders. Dealing with terrorism ranked top, followed by securing external frontiers. 60% said they wanted the military to assist civilian authorities in crisis situations.
The strong preference for soldiers being brought onto the streets to help the police counter gang violence is explained by the Brå report’s revelation that 80% of fatal shootings are related to criminal activity. The research found that firearm incidents often stem from drug trafficking.
The SOM survey also found that confidence in the neutral country’s armed forces was at a 35-year high.