Swedish Chief Prosecutor Lise Tamm has claimed that the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby is like “a war zone”.
Ms. Tamm, who will become acting head of the anti-organised crime unit in the New Year, said that she would be looking to war-torn countries like Colombia and El Salvador to find new methods of handling the rampant violence in Sweden’s no-go zones, Sveriges Radio reports.
“Rinkeby is almost like a war zone. When the police work there, they work as the armed forces would have done,” Tamm said.
Tamm then compared the no-go zone to Central American countries which have had to deal with huge waves of criminal gang-related violence in the recent past:
“And then I thought: How did they do it in Colombia when they deported FARC guerrillas, how did they do it in El Salvador when the war ended? How have they done in other parts of the world where you have had such great problems for many, many years? Is there any solution? You have to think outside the box,” she said.
Tamm stressed the increasing the presence of police in the area was not enough and that she would also work to increase the number of social workers and government services to the area as well.
Local Rinkeby police officer Niclas Andersson expressed opposition to labelling the area a “war zone” but admitted the suburb has some serious problems. “We have shooting and gang crime, but comparing it with a war zone, no I do not share that perception,” he insisted.
The comments come after members of the Moderate Party proposed sending the armed forces into areas like Rinkeby to allow police to do their jobs without the fear of being attacked.
Rinkeby, along with nearby areas like Husby and Tensta, is known as some of the worst no-go zones in Sweden, along with certain areas of the city of Malmö.
Violent crime has escalated to the point where shootings and hand grenade attacks are not uncommon, and the government has even proposed a three-month amnesty bill for members of the public to turn in hand grenades to get them off the streets.
One of the common factors among many of the no-go zones is that they are heavily populated by migrants and those of migrant origin. They are also typically areas of socio-economic poverty.
The unemployment rate for migrants, according to government statistics, is several times higher than for native Swedes, and is approaching similar numbers to Greece.