Sweden: a failing state

Translation of this. Not very confident in it; I don’t speak Swedish.

There are now 55 residential areas in Sweden where the police cannot maintain law and order. The National Criminal Intelligence Section has identified the geographic areas where local criminal networks are considered to have a major negative impact on the surroundings. There are areas where confrontations among criminals can result in gunfire on the streets, where residents do not dare to testify and where the police are not welcome.

The report, A national survey of criminal networks with major impact in the local community(En nationell översikt av kriminella nätverk med stor påverkan i lokalsamhället), was published last week. It describes areas where unattended police cars are attacked,” where police officers will be “attacked” and where it is “common for police officers to be exposed to violence and threats.” Traders suffer from vandalism, burglary, robbery and extortion. Narcotics are sold openly, and although/even if (även om) the gangs do not control the territory, “there are checks on cars” as part of the struggle over the drug trade.

The police do not want to talk about these parallel societies, but in some areas residents are seeing that “the ordinary justice system has been partly eliminated“, while police note that a wider clientele turn to the criminal environment for rightskeeping.” The residents believe that it is the criminals who control the areas.”

The report covers famous places like Rinkeby (89.1% immigrant background) / Tensta (The open unemployment rate is 43.5% (2009) and the rate of people on social welfare is 40.2% (1999). In 1999 the employment rate was 44%. Immigrants make up 66% of the population and 95%-100% of the children in local schools are of foreign origin.) and Alby (a very high concentration of immigrants) / Fittja (contains the tallest minaret in Europe; 64.7% of the population is of non-Swedish origin, of which 25.1% are not Swedish citizens) in Stockholm, Bergsjön (Over 80 percent of students in Bergsjön have Swedish as a second language) and Biskopsgården in Gothenburg and Herrgården (Generally considered the worst part of Rosengård, 96% of the neighborhood’s population is of foreign background (67% born abroad and 29% born in Sweden to two immigrant parents). 47% of the population is 18 years and younger. The most common countries of origin include Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Somalia. Just 15% of the population is employed. Herrgården is a social-democratic stronghold, with the Swedish Social Democratic Party garnering 82% of votes in the 2006 elections.) / Rosengård (In 2012, the figure for those of “immigrant background” was given as 86%.) in Malmö, but also Koppargården in Landskrona, Araby in Växjö and Brynäs in Gavle, to name just a few. In these 55 locations, the police have little power to curb crime. Police operations are greeted with stone-throwing, and investigations are difficult because people do not want to testify, if the crimes are even reported.

The police do not use the term no go”-zones. It is originally military slang for rebel-controlled areas. But the question is whether there is a clearer description of the places where the public, generally understands (allmänheten i flera fall uppfattar) that it is the criminals that control the areas” and where “the police are not able to operate.”

Police are talking about older gangs and younger: the former operate more professionally and are more structured, whereas the latter are loosely-connected networks, mayflies” that come and go in different configurations, where the common denominator is the social context and the geographical area“.

The established gangs which are held together by ethnicity, kinship or friendship(etnicitet, släktskap eller vänskapsband) can probably be countered with targeted efforts against organized crime, while the younger ones can hardly be reached without broad approaches in the local community. Police are now investigating whether there is overlap with what the government callsexclusion areas(utanförskapsområden; see here), to possibly identify socioeconomic and other factors behind the development.

And, of course, exclusion plays a role(Right, of course.) But it may be worth recalling that many so-called exclusion areas do not seem to have lapsed into lawlessness, and that the vast majority of people in isolation are victims, not perpetrators. The 55 identified areas need, first and foremost, safety and security. Only then can the fields evolve in a positive direction. We need a permanent police presence– well staffed police stations to remove criminals from the streets and to regain control of the areas.

The situation is not entirely hopeless, yet. “In most areas, after all, it is experienced that police officers can walk freely and patrol on foot without fear of being attacked.” (But it just said that police officers in these areas will be attacked!)


9 responses to “Sweden: a failing state

  1. Roi November 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

    While “exclusion areas” is a technically valid translation of “utanförskapsområden”, the term is still quite loaded. Back in 2006, when former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeld won his first election for the liberal right coalition, he used “utanförskap” to describe the unemployment and quasi unemployment that had not been reduced since the financial crisis in ~91. It was a description of how the the bloated welfare shut people at the margin out from a dignified life.

    Of course, since the areas where immigrants concentrate are often massive housing projects built by the same welfare state, you can use “utanförskapsområden” is a term that maximizes the “socio economic” aspect of this otherness.

  2. Roi November 3, 2014 at 12:22 am

    BTW, since you do such a good job with the mechanich translation, I’ll reccoment this thread. It’s still going strong after 4 years, with quite high quality commentary on the immigration issues of the day. https://www.flashback.org/t1423112

  3. Pingback: Sweden: a failing state | Reaction Times

  4. Erik November 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Norwegian speaker here, can read most Swedish. I’ll defer to Roi, who appears to be Swedish, if he disagrees. Agree that this is a quite good job.

    > but in some areas residents are seeing that “the ordinary justice system has been partly eliminated“
    “Eliminated” seems to have misleading connotations of destruction rather than cessation. sätts ur spel (lit. removed from play) is elimination in the sense of a game tournament. Perhaps “The ordinary justice system is unable to fulfill its function”.

    > turn to the criminal environment for rightskeeping
    Boggled at this. Google Translate gives me “rättskipning” -> “jurisdiction”, did you guess the cognate or did you get a different translation out?

    > where “the police are not able to operate.”
    “inte kunnat fullgöra sin uppgift” means that they could not finish their tasks, which is less severe. I think this ties back to “eliminated” and your earlier commentary on failing states – things gradually slow down, come apart, the police do less and less, and only after the police presence has dwindled through stages of tokenism and restructuring will there come a point where the police is outright unable to operate.

    > which are held together by “ethnicity, kinship or friendship” (etnicitet, släktskap eller vänskapsband)
    I would have inserted “bonds/ties of” in front of “ethnicity, kinship or friendship”

    > utanförskap
    Amused at the literal translation: “Outsideness”.

    • nydwracu November 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks; going to write this up for Theden, so any corrections are useful.

      Not sure what happened with “rättskipning”; as far as I can tell, that’s a false cognate. There doesn’t seem to be a good Swedish-English dictionary online, but running the Swedish Wiktionary definition through Google Translate gives “operations of the legal system maintenance, especially if the tribunals of the trial in order to determine what is legally right”.

      “Jurisdiction” doesn’t make sense in context; my impression is that what they’re talking about is that the inhabitants rely on criminal gangs to maintain order (which IIRC happens in some parts of America, mostly with Marxist-influenced black gangs) — and another Swedish dictionary, run through Google Translate, gives “administration of justice, the courts main task, the judicial business and society through the courts exercising”. “Jurisdiction” might mean something different in Sweden.

      It could refer either directly to the upholding of order by criminal gangs or the belief that the areas in question fall under the jurisdiction of those gangs; I’m not sure. If I don’t figure it out, I’ll err on the side of the second one for Theden, I think — it’s more general.

      (edit: Google Translate gives “a wider clientele turns to the criminal justice environment”, which I guess could be a remarkably euphemistic way of saying that there are a lot more criminals now…? Or something along those lines. That’s a third possibility.)

      As for the rest, I see Google Translate doesn’t know how to fail clearly when it doesn’t understand the connotations yet. I’ve got to check this stuff more closely; sätts ur spel I should’ve been able to pick up on. “Partly removed from play” sounds idiomatic in English.

      “Ties of…” is more idiomatic, but it’s not there in the original unless prepositions are a lot weirder in Swedish than I’ve been assuming (which is likely) — De etablerade gängen – som hålls ihop av ”etnicitet, släktskap eller vänskapsband” — so leaving that out.

      (Editing in the corrections…)

      • Sovereign November 4, 2014 at 8:33 am

        From NE.se (Nationalencyklopedin)

        RÄTTSKIPNING, domstolarnas huvuduppgift, den dömande verksamhet som samhället genom domstolar utövar för att upprätthålla rättsordningen. De har dessutom vissa förvaltningsuppgifter.

        “the main task of the courts of law, the adjudication process conducted by society via the courts to uphold the rule of law. They [the courts] also have a few administrative tasks.

        ”ett bredare klientel vänder sig till den kriminella miljön för rättskipning”

        should be interpreted as

        “a wider clientele turns to criminal elements for arbitration”

  5. infowarrior1 November 6, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Why don’t they send soldiers or the swedish equivalent of he national guard to restore order? Or are their hands tied by leftism?

  6. Callowman January 18, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    ‘Rättsskipning’ means roughly ‘the provision of justice’. Gudmundsson’s point was that a growing number of people are turning to the underworld rather than the court system for justice.

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