Refusing to admit the atrocity they’ve inflicted upon their country, they dig in their heels that much harder and deeper.
Stockholm University’s Tham fundamentally agrees that the results of research in the field have been consistent over the years:
“Several studies were done and the results were similar – immigrants were more likely to be involved in crime, but their children were less likely than they were.”
Why Sweden doesn’t keep stats on ethnicity and crime
Contemporary debate about immigration in Sweden often centres on the unusually high influx of refugees in the last decade, which is frequently claimed by the international far right to have sown chaos. Google’s data shows that some of the searches connected to “Sweden immigration” that have increased most in the last five years are “Sweden crime rate” and “Sweden rape statistics”.
While the domestic debate is more nuanced, migration remains a hot topic in the build-up to the forthcoming autumn general election, and crime in relation to immigration is a particularly big talking point.
It doesn’t take much effort to find articles claiming to have the ‘truth’ about the relationship between immigrants or refugees and Swedish crime. Yet the real truth is that there is no up-to-date public data on the ethnic background of criminals in the country, with existing figures more than a decade old.
There was once a time when Sweden regularly recorded such data on the national origin of those involved in crime, explains Stockholm University criminology professor emeritus Henrik Tham, who specializes in Swedish criminal policy and its history.
Sensitivity about detailing ethnicity in relation to crime in Sweden only grew as the 90s progressed to the new millennium. Brå’s last report on the matter, “Crime among persons born in Sweden and other countries” is now more than 10 years old. Stina Holmberg was one of the authors.
“The judgement we made is that looking at the four previous studies we did of roughly the same kind the results were very similar. Immigrants were overrepresented in crime, but the gap was reducing by the generation. Second generations are less over-represented. So we felt that there was no huge value in doing more because the results were pretty stable – what we knew was sufficient for our work,” Holmberg explains to The Local.
Brå’s first study analyzed data up to and including 1989, but significant changes had occurred by the time the 2005 report was compiled – including the arrival of almost 300,000 refugees in Sweden spearheaded by the fall-out from the Yugoslav wars. Immigration in general had also increased, while on top of that came the fallout from the recession in the country during the 1990s which increased segregation.