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INCREASE IN GANG VIOLENCE TARGETING RIVALS’ FAMILY MEMBERS AND CIVILIANS IN SWEDEN

Region of Concern: Sweden

Written By Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg; Edited by Elena Alice Rossetti

Date: September 14, 2023


Map of Uppsala and Stockholm, Sweden[1]


Event: Between September 7 and 13, 11 violent crimes connected to organized gangs occurred in Sweden, most in Uppsala and Stockholm. On September 7, the alleged mother of a person previously close to the “Foxtrot” gang leader, Rawa Majid, called the “Kurdish fox” in the media, got shot in an Uppsala neighborhood. Similar shootings occurred in Uppsala and central Stockholm on September 9, 11, 12, and 13, including the shooting of a 13-year-old in a Stockholm suburb, in what the police call a “spiral of revenge”.[2] So far this year, 34 deadly shootings have occurred in Sweden[3], and the police are concerned that gangs have started to target adversaries’ family members. The police believe that a September 6 shooting in Istanbul, Turkey, where Rawa Majid is living, is connected to this recent escalation in violence in Sweden. Experts believe that the Istanbul shooting targeted Majid and is part of an internal conflict within the “Foxtrot” gang.[4]


Significance: The current spiral of violence in Sweden very likely indicates a shift in gangs’ tactics where their members now consider legitimate attacking rival gangs’ relatives. When gang members are in hiding, rival gangs will likely increase violence against relatives as it is easier to target them. Family members and involved gang members will likely try to enhance safety by purchasing protective gear, increasing the risk of deadly attacks as the shooter aims at the target’s head instead of the body. It is also likely that gang members will try to protect their families by increasing their illegal weapons stockpile and training their relatives on how to use a weapon. This will almost certainly increase the deadly violence in public places and risk potentially killing civilians in the crossfire. If the police fail to protect family members at risk, their trust in law enforcement will decrease significantly, and people in affected areas will very likely be reluctant to report crimes. Sweden's impending NATO membership, which Turkey has yet to ratify, very likely limits the Swedish government’s ability to pressure Turkey to extradite Majid. He will very likely continue to orchestrate murders in Sweden from Turkey, making it unlikely for the police to stop the current violent spiral in the near future.


Recommendations: CTG recommends the Swedish police cooperate with the Security police (SÄPO) in intelligence gathering to stop potential acts of violence before they occur, together with extending cooperation with Turkish intelligence to monitor possible local escalation. The Swedish Customs Office should increase monitoring incoming foreign shipments to uncover illegal weapons and narcotics. The police should provide protection to the families of gang members involved in this conflict while monitoring other gang conflicts in Sweden, where a similar targeting scheme might occur. The police should constantly dialogue with the affected family members and provide information on potential escalations and specific threats to improve mutual trust. Stockholm and Uppsala municipalities and police should implement crime prevention strategies in all the affected areas, such as the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) method. In their discussions about Sweden’s NATO membership, the Swedish and the US governments should pressure Turkey to extradite Rawa Majid to Sweden and include this demand in the US potential F-16 deal with Turkey.

 

[1]Uppsala” by Google Maps

[2] Minst elva grova våldsbrott i Sverige på en vecka, Dagens Nyheter, September 2023, https://www.dn.se/sverige/minst-elva-grova-valdsbrott-i-sverige-pa-en-vecka/ (Translated by Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg)

[3] Skjutningar i Sverige år för år, SVT Nyheter, September 2023, https://www.svt.se/datajournalistik/skjutningar-i-sverige-ar-for-ar/ (Translated by Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg)

[4] Övervakningsfilm visar skottlossning i Istanbul – kopplas till våldsvågen i Sverige, SVT Nyheter, September 2023, https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/overvakningsfilmer-visar-skottlossning-i-istanbul-kopplas-till-valdsvagen-i-sverige (Translated by Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg)

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