Newly released figures from Sweden’s criminal statistics agency Brå have revealed that reported cases of sex crime increased considerably in 2021.
An average of 25.3 rape incidents were reported per day in Sweden for a total of 9,240 cases in 2021, up 4% from last year’s figures and an astounding 25% from numbers recorded in 2017, according to recently published, preliminary statistical data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå).
Women aged 18 and older were particularly vulnerable. The number of rapes reported by individuals from this particular cohort climbed to 14 rapes per day for a total of 5,250 cases in 2021, a 12% increase compared to the previous year. According to Brå spokeswoman Stina Söderman, one-third of reported rapes involved either a relative or a romantic partner.
Assault-style rapes—particularly violent sexual assaults carried out by an unknown person, outdoors—reported by women aged 18 and older also increased sharply last year, jumping 10% from 2020.
Last year also saw a significant increase in reported rapes against men aged 18 and above, jumping 9% year over year. On the more positive side, reported sexual assaults carried out against children aged 17-years-old and younger fell to 3,710, down 6% from the prior year.
This year’s annual crime report comes months after Brå released a first-of-its-kind study that measured the proportion of criminal suspects in the population. Regarding crimes such as rape, first-generation immigrants were found to be nearly three times as likely to be suspected of the crime than were native-born Swedes with Swedish parents.
Additionally, the study—which collected data over a period of 16 years—found that foreign-born residents were 2.5 times as likely to be registered as a criminal suspects there were residents whose two parents were born in Sweden. Another key finding unearthed in the study was that second-generation migrants—those who were born in Sweden but whose parents were born elsewhere—were suspected of lethal acts of violence like manslaughter and murder five times as often as individuals who were born in Sweden.
In 2020, Sweden witnessed more lethal violence—attempted murders, murders, and accidental fatal beatings—than any year since the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) began keeping records in 2002.
Some notable community figures, such as Gothenburg Police Commissioner Erik Nord, have suggested that a sharp rise in lethal violence may be connected to the unprecedented influx of foreign nationals which has taken place in recent years.
“It is no longer a secret today that much of the problem of gang and network crime with the shootings and explosions are linked to migration to Sweden in recent decades,” Norde wrote in May 2021 in an opinion editorial published by Goteborgs Posten.
“When, like me, you have the opportunity to see cases at the individual level, you see that virtually everyone who shoots or is shot in gang conflicts originates from the Balkans, the Middle East, North or East Africa,” the police chief added.
Others, like Brå researcher David Shannon, say it’s too early to ascribe causal factors to the substantial increase in lethal violence—and to the starkly disproportionate overrepresentation—witnessed, saying: “It is difficult to say what the over-representation is due to. There are also many factors that we cannot control. An important lesson from our study is that we still know very little about the underlying processes of the over-representation that exists.”