Sweden: fall in number of hate crime reports

Swedish police 2 carsHate crime reports in Sweden have fallen by six per cent in the past five years, according to the Criminal Prevention Council, Brottsforebyggande Radet (Bra). The agency’s Carina Djarv said that they are not exactly sure why there has been a fall, but it could be down to a number of factors.

She explained that looking at recent attitude surveys shows tolerance towards immigrants and homosexuals has increased over the past 5-10 years.

The report splits hate crimes into six categories relating to motive of the crime, and the majority, 72 per cent, are connected to racism. Meanwhile, 13 per cent are linked to homophobic, heterophobic or biphobic motives. However, overall, offences related to sexual orientation have dropped the most, by 32 per cent.

Ms Djarv said although there have been some reports that Islamophobic or anti-Semitic crimes are on the up, they are not statistically significant. She noted that there have also been reports of a ‘dramatic’ rise in anti-Roma and anti-African hate crimes too since 2008.

The statistics reveal reports of hate crimes related to people of Roma and African descent have gone up by 21 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

Djarv said more research must be carried out in order to see if hate crimes have really fallen in society, and not only taking into accounts the reports on the issue. She noted that another determining factor could be the fact the issue has been more of a priority for the police in recent years.

She explained that the police have done a lot of work in recent years to work towards reducing the number of hate crimes, pointing out that they have cooperated with groups like the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL). She noted that this is more likely to lead to more reports because the police are better trained to spot such incidences.

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