Spread of gang violence wrecks Sweden's peaceful image - BBC News

Several passers-by are among those killed in gangland shootings and bombings beyond the big cities.

8 hours agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Nils Petter Nilsson/EPA-EFE/REX/ShutterstockImage caption, Police patrol the streets after a man was shot dead in September in a suburb south of StockholmBy Maddy SavageBBC News, StockholmGangland shootings and bombings that have plagued Sweden's biggest cities have spread to quieter suburbs and towns, shattering its reputation as a safe and peaceful nation.

Half an hour north of central Stockholm, Upplands-Bro features lakeside boat clubs, copper-red wooden villas and apartments flanked by pine and spruce trees.

But a 14-year-old boy was found dead in a forest here in August, and since January there have been several shootings and bombings targeting houses and apartments.

"It's awful. We've [been] woken up by explosions in the neighbourhood and it's scary," says 42-year-old Anna Petterson, who lives in Bro and has three children. "It's very much something that we're aware of, and we talk about a lot, and are afraid of."

Sweden has been a European hotspot for gang-related shootings and bombings for several years. But recently the violence has shifted beyond low-income, vulnerable urban areas and police say one reason is that gang members are increasingly targeting rivals' relatives.


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