Crime in Sweden, a Three-Part Series

After politicians and bloggers claimed Sweden was facing rising crime due to asylum seekers, we sent our reporter to the country to investigate.

Published Apr 5, 2017

After President Trump claimed in a speech that asylum seekers had caused a crime wave in Sweden, people from across political spectrum weighed in on both sides of the Atlantic. Trump wasn't the first to make such a claim about Sweden — Brexit architect Nigel Farage has repeatedly called it Europe's "rape capital," and even mainstream U.S. newspapers have made similar (though less inflammatory) claims. At the same time, many liberals scoffed at the idea that crime was a problem in Sweden, a country thought to be a haven of socialist democracy.

We sent reporter Bethania Palma to visit the cities and neighborhoods that were supposedly rife with crime and rape due to an influx of migrants. Through on-the-ground interviews, intensive data review, and talks with researchers, Palma dug into the complicated truth behind claims.

She found a situation that is far more nuanced than English-language news sources had acknowledged. Palma told us: “The issue is really easy to manipulate when you're dealing with a country where the media reports largely in another language; and most of the newspapers here are behind paywalls, so the stories we're getting on Sweden are aggregation on steroids... you really just have to go to the country and interview people in a situation like this.”

Palma looked into three claims:

  1. Is Sweden the "Rape Capital" of the World?
  2. Are Refugee Men Overrepresented in Swedish Crime?
  3. Does Sweden Have 'No-Go Zones' Where the Police Can't Enter?

We are proud to present our readers with Palma’s robust reporting, and are looking towards bringing you more heavily-researched stories like this one.

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