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Thornberg: Unique chance to push the gang back

Murder plans, bombings and large-scale drug trafficking. Swedish police are currently investigating hundreds of people for serious crimes with evidence from the so-called Encro cats.

In the last week alone, a total of over 50 suspects have been brought to justice for crimes linked to a gang environment in three different cases in Gothenburg, Norrköping and Stockholm.

National Police Chief Anders Thornberg states that there have rarely been so many leading figures in the criminal networks deprived of their liberty at the same time.

According to the police, this has affected the shootings, which have clearly decreased in recent months.

– We have received material and evidence that has enabled us to take those who order the murders and those who control the drug trade to court. It has created confusion and a dampening effect in the criminal environments, says Anders Thornberg.

Already in the autumn, shootings decreased and the trend has continued during the beginning of the year.

“A window opened”

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So far this year, 45 shootings have occurred, compared with 73 in the corresponding period in 2020. There are also fewer people who die or are injured in shootings.

The National Police Chief still does not want to draw any far-reaching conclusions from the figures.

– As long as we incapacitate fewer than those who are newly recruited, this will continue, he says.

The conflicts in the gang environments have not stopped. But with the leading players away from the arena, a rare gap has arisen, according to the National Police Chief.

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– It is a window that has opened now, before new players have grown strong enough to challenge. Here, society has a unique opportunity to enter, says Anders Thornberg.

The National Police Chief has on several occasions pointed out reduced new recruitment to the gangs as a key factor in stopping serious crime.

Move the positions forward

Many younger people in the criminal networks have probably gotten a food for thought after the police offensive, Thornberg believes.

– It is not as attractive for young people when they see that society can access people who have appeared completely unreachable, who have been at the top of the chain and made big money. Then there is a chance to get people to jump off and choose another path, he says.

He urges society to immediately advance its positions in the vulnerable areas to prevent the spiral of violence from picking up again.

– Now schools, municipalities and other actors together with the police must exchange situational pictures. A lot of such good work is already being done, but we need to shift it up so that we can identify the young people who are on their way into crime, says Thornberg.

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