The police have carried out some 30 arrests in the violent spiral in the Stockholm area that began on Christmas Day. Several of the arrested are under 15 years of age.
"We have a particularly serious situation. The violence with shootings and explosions we have seen recently is appalling", says Chief Police Officer Anders Thornberg to a press posse outside the police station in Stockholm.
Since Christmas Day, several acts of violence have shaken the Stockholm area. Three people have been shot to death, gates and staircases have been blown up, doors have been fired upon and children have been stopped while carrying firearms.
"The situation is tough and employees are hard hit, but the development of violence must be broken", Thornberg says.
Arrested under 15 years of age
About half of the arrests have been made on the past weekend. Several of the arrested are under 15 years of age and handed over to social services.
Those arrested are way down the gang's hierarchies.
"We need to get to those who instigate and persuade young people to commit these terrible crimes," says Mattias Andersson, Regional Police Commissioner in Stockholm, adding that the police have a very good picture of the networks.
"I can say with certainty that we will do many more detentions, take even more weapons and continue to work actively with the criminal economy in these environments," he says.
The police in Stockholm will shortly be strengthened with about a hundred more police officers from all police regions in the country.
Not just Stockholm
According to the National Police Commissioner, the wave of violence is partly controlled from abroad. It is about people who have fled the law and settled in Spain, for example.
The police have previously said that the wave of violence is due to three ongoing conflicts. According to reports in several media it is not isolated to Stockholm, but in one case it involves a power struggle about drug trafficking in Sundsvall.
Several of the arrested are not based in Stockholm but have made their way there from other cities.
TT: Is there a risk of escalating violence in other cities as well?
"We are aware of this. It's not just Stockholm, not just an individual area, but a larger issue. We are naturally on the alert to make the whole of Sweden safe and secure", says Anders Thornberg.
Facts: The wave of violence in Stockholm
25/12 – A man in his 30s is shot to death in a parking lot in Rinkeby in northwest Stockholm.
27/12 – Explosion at a apartment building in Enskededalen in southern Stockholm.
28/12 – Shots fired at a apartment building in Gubbängen in southern Stockholm. Later that same day, an apartment door was fired at in the same house.
28/12 – A gate in Farsta in southern Stockholm is blown up.
31/12 – Early New Year's Eve detonates an explosive charge in a port in Rågsved in southern Stockholm.
31/12 – Three people are shot outside McDonald's in Vällingby center, in northwest Stockholm. One man in his 20s dies in hospital and two gunshot wounds.
2/1 – Early in the morning, a gate explodes in Grimsta in western Stockholm. Just over an hour later, a gate explodes in Bagarmossen in southern Stockholm.
4/1 – Two men are shot in Jordbro in Haninge municipality, south of Stockholm. A man in his 20s dies.
5/1 – An explosion occurs in a apartment building in Farsta Strand in southern Stockholm.
11/1 – Three people are arrested after shooting inside Kungsängen's commuter train station in northern Stockholm during the night.
12/1 – A multi-detached house in Järfälla northwest of Stockholm is under fire.
16/1 – A man in his 20s is shot in Hagalund in Solna north of Stockholm.
17/1 – A powerful explosive charge detonates in the entrance to a restaurant on Södermalm in central Stockholm during the night.
18/1 – Three floors of an office building are damaged in a severe explosion in Kista, north of the capital.
19/1 – Two apartments in the Stockholm area are fired on Thursday night. Earlier in the evening a man is abducted in central Stockholm – three men are arrested.
20/1 – The police begin a so-called special event due to the ongoing cycle of violence in the capital, after new shootings and explosions at night. Late in the evening a man is shot to death in the Main Center of Solna. In Skarpnäck there is an explosion in a stairwell.
21/1 – A villa in Tumba is shot during the night. Shots fired in Enskededalen in the afternoon. No one found injured but three arrested. Notice that the police in Stockholm are temporarily reinforced with about a hundred intervention police officers from other regions.