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HomeCrime and JusticeYouthful Descent into Gang Violence: A Growing Concern in Sweden

Youthful Descent into Gang Violence: A Growing Concern in Sweden

Gang Crimes Invading Youth Faces: A Rising Trend in Swedish Society

In recent news, Sweden is battling a daunting problem: gang violence is creeping its way down to younger ages.

An Alarming Uptick

Last week, a 13-year-old boy was executed in a forested area in Haninge. The Prosecutor confirmed that the child was fatally shot in the head and that this horrifying crime had ties to gang violence. Anders Bolund, who works with identifying and helping youngsters displaying criminal behavior in Haninge, has noticed an extreme influx of such cases in the past year.

 “We have had an extreme influx of young people in our cases just in the past year”, says Anders.

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The situation emphasizes a new reality in Sweden – criminal networks are recruiting children, some as young as 10-11 years of age, to commit serious violent crimes.

Social Challenges: Inadequate Resources and Broken Families

According to Anders, public services like social services, police, and correctional services have faln behind in coping with this alarming trend of recruiting younger members for criminal activities.

 “Unfortunately, they are so many that we do not have time to handle all of them,” admits Bolund.

The recruitment of younger kids into gang crime has accelerated rapidly over the last two years, discloses Anneli Lindqvist, responsible for dropout activities within the Haninge municipality.

Social workers observe that young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and broken families, where adult presence is low, are more susceptible to gang recruitment.

“This is rarely not involved in our cases; I would say it is like that in 8 out of 10 cases,” elucidates Bolund.

A Glimpse into the Dark Side of Society

Bolund and Lindqvist ponder if gang crime has become the most attractive path for youths, especially in certain areas.

 “Yes, at least a shortcut that can quickly bring a lot of money, status, and identity,” agree Anders and Anneli.

Experts advocate for an intervention strategy at younger stages – as early as elementary school levels – to implement preventive measures in at-risk areas.

Towards a Better Future

A shift in thinking and developing new methods for working with these very young individuals is urgently needed. Integrating better methods in schools for signalling the social services and police about potential risks earlier can be beneficial.

Moreover, these challenges place demands on all societal functions. Enhancing parents’ leadership skills regarding this matter from an early stage (even at BVC) can be a proactive approach.

Considerably, due to the young age, these children are attractive recruits for the older criminals as they can benefit from a ‘juvenile discount’ – a lighter sentence associated with being a minor. But the adverse social effects are ultimately paid in human life. With recent violent incidents involving even younger children, Sweden confronts a steep challenge – will the recruitment age for gangs lower even further?

Latest crime scenes involving children have put the society in shock, demanding immediate reformative measures to tackle this alarming concern and protect the younger generation from societal harm and exploitation.

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