The figures, released on Thursday, include all incidents reported as crimes with the police, prosecution authority and other authorities tasked with investigating crimes in Sweden. They include incidents later shown not to be crimes following investigations.
In total, 1.51 million crimes were reported in Sweden during 2017, a slight increase (4,010 more) on 2016.
The category with the biggest increase was crimes against the person, with the individual crimes of fleeing the scene of a traffic accident, computer fraud, possession of narcotics and infliction of damages (other than graffiti) growing most.
A total of 287,000 crimes against the person were reported last year – four percent more than 2016. According to Brå that is in part because of the creation of a new crime category, “unlawful use of identity” (olovlig identitetsanvänding) of which 27,600 instances were reported.
The number of sex crimes reported in Sweden increased by eight percent (1,600 reports), with the number of reported rapes in particular increasing by 10 percent – 663 reported rapes more than 2016 and reaching a total of 7,230.
Reported instances of sexual molestation also grew by three percent (326 reports) to 10,800 and reported instances of sexual coercion and exploitation by seven percent (1,330 reports).
Mid Sweden University Criminologist Teresa Silva told The Local that the statistics should be treated with care.
“We always have to be careful with analyzing reported crimes. We don’t know from the reported crime statistics whether the crime has actually occurred more, or if it’s just that people report it more. They are always tricky, you have to think beyond the statistics themselves. Years ago these kind of crimes, sex crimes, were not spoken about and had stigma attached to them.”
“So what do these stats not tell us? Detailed characteristics of the victims for example – we don’t know their demographic and social profile, or if more immigrants are reporting these crimes after becoming more integrated in Sweden and aware that they can report them,” she added.
In Sweden’s three biggest cities the picture is mixed. In Stockholm the number of reported rapes increased by 177 to 782 reports, while in Malmö (down six to 209) and Gothenburg (down eight to 369) they decreased.
A 10 percent overall increase in reported rapes over one year should be cause for further investigation rather than something to draw conclusions from in itself, criminologist Silva argues.
“If there’s a ten percent increase in a year, something has occurred, but what is it? We don’t know without looking over more years. Will it stabilize? Is it continually increasing?”
Also as predicted: Upcoming Refugees – The Women