Firearm-related violence in Sweden – A systematic review

Recent reports state that firearm-related violence is increasing in Sweden. In order to understand the trend of firearm-related violence in Sweden with regard to rate, modus operandi (MO) and homicide typology, and for which injuries and causes of death firearm-related violence is responsible, a systematic literature review was conducted. After a thorough search in different databases, a total of 25 studies published in Swedish and English peer-review journals were identified and thus analyzed. The results show that even though knives/sharp weapons continue to be the most common MO in a violent crime in Sweden, firearm-related violence is significantly increasing in the country and foremost when discussing gang-related crimes. Moreover, firearm-related homicides and attempted homicides are increasing in the country. The studies also show that a firearm is much more lethal than a knife/sharp weapon, and that the head, thorax and the abdomen are the most lethal and serious anatomical locations in which to be hit. It is principally the three largest cities of Sweden which are affected by the many shootings in recent years. The police have severe difficulties in solving firearm-related crimes such as homicide and attempted homicide, which is why the confidence and trust for the Swedish judicial system may be decreasing among the citizens. Several reforms have taken place in Sweden in the last few years, but their effect on firearm-related violence remains to be studied.

Ardavan Khoshnood


Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm