Malmö sees five shooting deaths in five weeks

Overworked police bring in enforcements to deal with latest violent episodes

Following the shooting death of a 48-year-old man on Tuesday, Malmö has now seen five gun-related killings in just over five weeks.

As a result, Malmö police are now appointing a special unit to deal with the rise of killings.

“This is an exceptional situation with this many violent crimes,” county police chief Eva Årestad said on Tuesday, according to Sweden’s English-language news site, The Local.

Malmö police will also request the assistance of Sweden’s National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) as well as neighbouring police districts.

TuesdayÂ’s shooting death followed the murder of a 15-year-old boy on New YearÂ’s Day. Police in that case say the motive may have been revenge for scaring a young girl with a firework.

Prior to that, a 27-year-old man was shot to death on Boxing Day and a woman renovating a centrally-located café was shot and killed on December 20. On November 24, a 31-year-old suspected gang leader was killed.

According to The Local, police point to the easy availability of illegal firearms as being behind the rash of shootings. Sven Granath, a criminologist at the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande Rådet), told Politiken newspaper that Malmö’s location may also have something to do with it.

“It’s close to Denmark and the Øresund Bridge, where narcotics are smuggled,” Granath said. “It makes the battle for market share more intense. Malmö also has a large black market for services and goods, in which violent confrontation is not unusual.”

The recent killings in Malmö bring to mind the period of October 2009 to October 2010, during which another long sequence of shootings spooked city residents. During that time, an estimated 50 shootings occurred that targeted immigrants, killing at least three people. A 38-year-old man was arrested for the racially-motivated shootings on 19 charges of murder and attempted murder.

Unlike the 2010 shootings, which targeted innocent citizens of immigrant descent, Malmö police say that most of the victims in the recent shootings were previously known to police.