Nearly a year has passed since youths in the capital’s immigrant neighborhoods set fire to cars, threw stones and caused extensive vandalism. Now trust between youth and police is more frayed than ever.
“We are always on the edge, fearing that the unrest will break out again,” said Jörgen Karlsson, police chief in Kista.
Here and in Stockholm’s other immigrant neighbourhoods – Rinkeby, Husby and Tensta – cases of robbery, burglary and vandalism have increased sharply in recent weeks.
Drug crime is high and involves children as young as age 12, both sellers and users.
People who live here say they feel unsafe after dark. The situation is at a breaking point.
Soon it will be a year since a man was shot by police in Husby last May, sparking powerful riots in Stockholm’s immigrant neighborhoods.
Extra police forces
Ibrahim Bouraleh, one of the volunteers from the local mosque, has stepped up patrolling at night in hopes of keeping youth in check.
“Analyzing all the events since since the riots, you know the feeling – it can happen again,” he says.
The government promised last year that it would help, but the biggest intervention in everyday life so far, is a beefed-up police force. Fifty additional police officers have been brought out to the neighborhoods.
Young people hate the police
In the evenings there are few people in the streets of the most deprived neighborhoods, which are close to the pure ghettos.
Police Chief Karlsson says that they are attacked on the job.
“Many young people express contempt and hatred of the police. On evenings and weekends, we are much more wary. We bring an extra car with us. This is to cover for each other, quickly intervene, and quickly leave the square before the a crowd of youths can gather,” he explains.
Furthermore, says Karlsson, there have been several cases of young people calling in false alarms to get the police to come to the area. When the police show up, a crowd of 50-70 kids come out and attack them with stones.
It also happens when young people hide on bridges and throw large stones at police cars and fire trucks driving by, according to Karlsson.
Young people feel forgotten
Ibrahim Bouraleh, the volunteer, says that many young people feel forgotten by the authorities.
“Many people are unhappy because there has been no improvement and politicians have done nothing,” he says.
But the mayor, Ann-Katrin Åslund, says they have implemented various projects to get young people on the right track.
“These problems’ve developed over 20 years. And I would argue that the situation has improved in recent years,” she says.
The police chief said he hopes that police work, cooperation with local authorities and others will reduce the risk of new riots erupting again.
But the problem is too little money.
“We are overloaded with all our tasks, and thus we get less time in the affected areas. There, we should have had time to build relationships and create trust among the youth – so they are not disturbed.”
Note: Edited Google Translated from Norwegian.
h/t Nicolai Sennels, who comments:
The fact that the police are seeking assistance from the local mosque to control the streets is a very, very bad sign. This means that the police are not able to enforce the law and have to ask the sharia-men for help – because the Muslim “youths” do not obey non-Islamic authorities. The police have completely lost power in these areas.