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Migrants and Crime in Sweden in the Twenty-First Century


Abstract and Figures

In 2005, the Swedish Crime Prevention Agency published a report about the link between immigration and crime. Since then, no comprehensive study has been conducted even though Sweden has experienced a large influx of migrants in combination with a rising crime rate. This study conducted by Göran Adamson and Tino Sanandaji is the first purely descriptive scientific investigation on the matter in fifteen years. The investigation (from 2002 to 2017) covers seven distinct categories of crime, and distinguishes between seven regions of origin. Based on 33 per cent of the population (2017), 58 per cent of those suspect for total crime on reasonable grounds are migrants. Regarding murder, manslaughter and attempted murder, the figures are 73 per cent, while the proportion of robbery is 70 per cent. Non-registered migrants are linked to about 13 per cent of total crime. Given the fact that this group is small, crime propensity among non-registered migrants is significant.
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Migrants and Crime in Sweden in the Twenty-First Century
Göran Adamson
Published online: 13 January 2020
#The Author(s) 2020
In 2005, the Swedish Crime Prevention Agency published a report about the link between immigration and crime. Since then, no
comprehensive study has been conducted even though Sweden has experienced a large influx of migrants in combination with a
rising crime rate. This study conducted by Göran Adamson and Tino Sanandaji is the first purely descriptive scientific investi-
gation on the matter in fifteen years. The investigation (from 2002 to 2017) covers seven distinct categories of crime, and
distinguishes between seven regions of origin. Based on 33 per cent of the population (2017), 58 per cent of those suspect for
total crime on reasonable grounds are migrants. Regarding murder, manslaughter and attempted murder, the figures are 73 per
cent, while the proportion of robbery is 70 per cent. Non-registered migrants are linkedto about 13 per cent of total crime. Given
the fact that this group is small, crime propensity among non-registered migrants is significant.
Keywords Sweden .Crime .Migrants .Immigration .Swedens Crime Prevention Agency .Refugees .Second-generation
migrants .Non-registered migrants .Murder .Rape
Are Racist Prejudices Fueled by Crime
The situation for us Swedes is, then, infinitely more fortu-
nate. Our population is homogeneous, not only in terms of our
race but also regarding so many other issues.(Erlander, 1965,
p. 60.) The words belong to Tage Erlander, SwedensSocial
democratic Prime Minister between 1946 and 1969. We are a
prosperous and fortunate country, he maintains, because we
are unified. We think alike and act alike. By means of careful
and persistent social measures, our population has slowly been
trimmed and finetuned so as to achieve a historically unique
sense of trust, social order and efficiency. In modern language,
Erlander would claim that our country is fortunate because it is
not characterized by multiculturalism and diversity.
Since Erlanders time, a silent revolution has occurred
at the heart of the reformist left. Now, diversity is said to
give us prosperity, while defending the idea of a unified
population is fraught with imminent political risks. Social
democratic views of the 1960s are now considered far
right-wing - a psychological trauma as if straight out of
an Ingmar Bergman movie.
As a result of the hegemony of multiculturalism and diver-
sity in Sweden since the 1990s, we have accepted very large
immigration, especially from the Middle East and Africa.
During the refugee crisis of 2015 only, Sweden received
163,000 migrants. As a result of an expected immigration of
relatives - often labeled family unification, the figures might
rise to over 2 million individuals.
Migration, we are told, is beneficial for Sweden. But if this
is so, it would also show in crime statistics. According to the
present investigation, the first more comprehensive study
since the 2005 report by the Swedish Crime Prevention
Agency, this is, however, not the case. In 2017, 58% among
those suspected for crime on reasonable grounds are migrants.
Regarding murder and manslaughter, the corresponsing fig-
ures are 73%. These figures are interesting out of purely sci-
entific reasons. Due to migration, murder rate in Sweden has
As a universal role model for social and political prosperity,
Swedens recent crime trends has gained international atten-
tion. What can we do about it? What does it mean? The are no
answers to these pressing questions. But Sweden might point
towards an uncertain future. In a global world with increasing
migration where the nation state is being eroded by neo-
liberals from the outside and multiculturalists from the inside,
*Göran Adamson
Institutionen för Individ och Samhälle, West University, Gustava
Melins gata 2, 461 32 Trollhättan, Sweden
Society (2020) 57:921
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these Swedish trends may soon spread throughout the Western
In 2002, an editorial in Aftonbladet, Swedens top selling
tabloid, carried a warning: Do not strengthen racist preju-
dices!The newspaper had been informed that the Crime
Prevention Agency,Swedens official institution for the study
of crime on an aggregate level, in its coming 2005 report
would start presenting crime based on ethnic background.
Aftonbladet was alarmed: In case the Crime Prevention
Agency distinguishes between Swedesand immigrants,
it will also imply that crime might be caused by ethnic back-
ground.This, Aftonbladet continued, would instantly play
into the hands of racists.”“The right-wing extremists and their
lies about a connection between ethnicity and crime,
Aftonbladet concluded, cannot pass unchallenged. But we
need a serious debate. We certainly do not needcrime statistics
the mere presence of which only fuel racist prejudices.
(Aftonbladet, June 27, 2002).
Aftonbladet appears troubled by the fact that, in case the
Crime Prevention Agency will start distinguishing between
Swedes and immigrants, crime might be caused by ethnic
background. The purpose of methodological distinctions,
however, was always to look for plausible differences. When
Aftonbladet claims that this would instantly play into the
hands of racists, the newspaper makes a remarkable conces-
sion, namely that racists will profit from scientific data.
True to the tone, Aftonbladet ends with a bold statement.
Any connection in between ethnicity and crime is not only a
lie, but something verging on fascism. If we rely on data
assembled by the Crime Prevention Agency,a serious de-
bate,Aftonbladet maintains, is no longer possible. Crime
statistics fuel racist prejudices.In case we wish to prevent
racist exaggerations, then, the migration debate must be
founded on the opposite of statistical data - i.e. outburts, ste-
reotypes, exaggerations. This emotional anti-intellectualism
as exemplified by Aftonbladet has defined Swedish migration
discourse for decades.
The present report takes a different stance. Knowledge nev-
er lies - if it did, it wouldnt be knowledge. We need it to avoid
extremist simplifications. The assumption that certain meth-
odological distinctions must be kept out of sight of the public
is dangerous and anti-democratic. Integration of marginalized
groups is impossible without scientific data.
Introduction and Purpose
Today, criminal propensity among individuals with a foreign
background counts as one of the most heated areas of debate.
It is therefore important to acquire information regarding un-
der-, and overrepresentation for different crimes. It is also
important to investigate other group differences, such as mens
overrepresentation regarding sexually related crimes, and the
overrepresentation of crimes by individuals below the age of
30. Criminal predisposition among migrants is, however, es-
pecially important, because this particular group is an
exogeneous factor constantly reshaping society, while the do-
mestic male population is unchanging, or rather diminishing
in relative terms as a result of immigration.
Criminal activity is weighing heavily on society, and on
victims and relatives in particular. Proactively using scientific
knowledge to counter criminal activity has, therefore, evident
social benefits. As a result of the considerable societal cost of
crime, even small discoveries and science-based insights is
bound to have visible positive impact on social safety.
Over the last few decades, those who commit crimes in
Sweden are increasingly clustered both geographically and
socially. The risk of ending up as victim of crime is getting
more and more unevenly distributed. (Nilsson and Estrada
2005) Inhabitants in so-calledvulnerable areasare often
migration with higher risk of being either criminal or victim
of crime. Updating the data material on crime and migration
leads to new and important data, and knowledge on crime and
migration is seriously wanting, according to public institu-
tions, politicians, and the majority population.
One of our main concerns here is to study the integration of
second-generation migrants and how this integration has
changed over time. Historically from the 1940s to the end
of the 1970s - criminal migrants gradually tended to fuse with
the majority population over time, both in terms of social
status and regarding propensity for crime. An important task
is to analyze if and if so to what extent these patterns of
migration are still valid, and, in case this blending never oc-
curs, to map those particularly vulnerable groups in order to
initiate early preemptive action.
This entirely updated study questions the left-wing assump-
tion that knowledge only fuels right-wing conspiracies. The
truth is the opposite. In case we wish to fuel generalizations,
stigmatizations based on anecdotes, rumors, political agitation
etc., then we must try to prevent any attempt to acquire scien-
tific knowledge. Knowledge undermines stereotypes and leads
to more nuanced discussion. Numerous previous studies on
crime and migration in Sweden are based on these assumptions.
There are many reasons why information on crime among
migrants and their children is important. Detailed knowledge
about groups prone for criminal behavior avoids random, cost-
ly, and inefficient measures. Knowledge tells us about long-
term relations between migration and crime. Knowledge might
inform us about why some cities and suburbs are more affected
by crime than others. Continuously updated data material, fi-
nally, might tell us why different crimes fluctuate over time.
Over the recent past, the relation between criminal propen-
sity and migration was subject of a number of Swedish studies
- among them two reports by BRÅ (SwedensCrime
Prevention Agency). Its 1996 report analyzed the period be-
tween 1985 and 1989, while the report from 2005 studied data
10 Soc (2020) 57:921
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between 1997 and 2001. No further major investigation has,
however, been conducted after 2001. This matter-of-fact has
sparked a lively debate. Morgan Johansson, Swedens
Minister of Justice, has for instance kept saying that data on
migrants and crime are unimportant because we know that
migrants are overrepresented in crime(Johansson, 2018).
Others, like the top selling tabloid Aftonbladet above, has
insisted that this is not true, and that statistical data will only
play into the hands of populists and racists.
Still, this unwillingness to update material remains contro-
versial, and has been subject of various forms of critical re-
marks. While many seem to believe data on the relation be-
tween crime and migration is illegal, this is actually not the
case. The 2005 study by the Crime Prevention Agency does
not share the troubled opinions above:
But what about the risk that a new study on the theme
might cause more harm than good? These kinds of con-
cerns were raised when the plans to conduct the present
study became public. New results may be subject to
willful bias, critics maintained, taken out of context
and being misrepresented, all of it leading to an in-
creased polarization between groups. Clearly, these con-
cerns must be taken seriously. Still, opinions about the
relation between crime and migration based on scientific
research, the Crime Prevention Agency maintains, is
better than opinions based on subjective views and spec-
ulation. Unless we have facts about crime related to
migrants and their off-spring, myths tend to spread and
multiply. In case certain groups of migrants are in fact
overrepresented, problems will not disappear just be-
cause we refuse to talk about them. Accurately describ-
ing the extent and development of the problems is likely
to be the most effective way to deal with these matters,
and to improve living conditions of all citizens in
Sweden, irrespectively of ethnic background. (Brå
Based on the above, the present study intends to investigate
the development in registered crime among migrantsand their
children since the 2005 study by the Crime Prevention
Agency. The underlying purpose is to find out whether an
overrepresentation compared to native born Swedes prevails
or not. The empirical material of the project is based on an
extensive data survey provided by the Crime Prevention
Agency, and in addition population data from Statistics
Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån - SCB).
Background and Limitations
In the introduction of the 1996 report by Crime Prevention
Agency, immigration to Sweden was divided in three
periods. The first period started at the end of WWII and
consisted mainly of war refugees from Eastern and Central
Europe, and the Baltic States. The second period, during
the 1960s and 1970s, was dominated by work force immi-
gration from Finland, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and
Turkey. The third period, finally, started in the 1970s and
continues to this day. Now, country of origin had shifted
from Europe to countries outside of Europe, and workforce
migration had been replaced by various categories of
When the Crime Prevention Agency in 2005 published a
second report, the explicit purpose was to update earlier re-
search about registered crime among migrants(Brå, 2005,p.
7). The primary background of this update was constituted by
an increased immigration since the 1996 report. Ever since,
the Agency continues:
(.) almost 300 000 refugees have migrated to Sweden.
The number of persons born in Sweden with one or two
foreign-born parents has also increased. At the same
time these individuals were hit by the recession of the
1990s. Hence, unemployment, social welfare, and hous-
ing segregation saw an increase among these groups
(Brå 2005, p. 7). Sweden suffered during the 1990s
economic crisis, and there were huge cuts in the public
sector, and unemployment rose to levels unseen since
the depression of the 1930s. Compared to the immi-
grants from the 1980s, it was harder to obtain a job for
those who had immigrated during the 1990s
(Socialstyrelsen, 2001, p. 90). We saw an increase in
the percentage among foreign born defined as "poor,
i.e. who earned less than half of Swedens median in-
come (Brå 2005,p.14).
An important reason behind this report and the novel data it
relies on is, hence, the fact that Sweden has seen a consider-
able influx of new refugees and migrants since 2001.
The report will also update figures on crime among
second generation migrants i.e. individuals born in their
new host country with one or two foreign-born parents.
This group has gained considerable attention in numerous
international studies. It was also high-lighted in the 2005
report by the Crime Prevention Agency, stating that the
general picture presented by these studies is that this par-
ticular group, in comparison with both foreign-born and
those born with two native parents, has a higher propen-
sity for criminal activity.(Brå 2005,p.7).
Even if the Crime Prevention Agency has not revised
its crime statistics for almost 15 years now, there are
plenty of cases where authorities, researchers and media
have presented information about migrantsshare among
those registered for crime. At this point, one TV-pro-
gram, and three newspapers will be briefly discussed.
Soc (2020) 57:921 11
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In 2018, Uppdrag Granskning, a TV-program broadcasted
on Swedish state television, surveyed every individual regis-
tered for rape or attempted rape between 2012 and 2017. 58%
were foreign-born. Among the remaining 42% born in
Sweden, some had a migrant background as children to for-
eign-born, but their exact proportion was not presented.
Among those registered for attempted, and completed sexual
assault, where victim and criminal were strangers, a good 80%
were foreign-born.
Another survey conducted in 2018 by the newspaper
Aftonbladet studied 112 individuals registered for group rape
(at least two offenders) since 2012. Among them, 73% were
foreign-born. In case those born in Sweden with two migrant
parents were added, 88% were foreign-born.
In 2017, the newspaper Expressen did a survey of 192
individuals in Stockholm, who, according to police files, were
either members of criminal gangs, or had links to criminal
networks (as a result of court sentences or preliminary inves-
tigations). 82% were migrants, defined as being foreign-born
or having two foreign-born parents. In case those with one
foreign-born parent was added, the figure rose to 95%.
Yet another set of data was assembled in 2017 by Dagens
Nyheter. The material consisted of 100 criminals registered or
suspected in investigations on gunfire on public places be-
tween 2013 and 2017. 90 of them (90%) had one or two
foreign-born parents. Among them, about every second had
arrived in Sweden when they were young, while the rest were
born in Sweden.
Among these particular types of registered criminal activi-
ty, a large proportion is foreign-born. Regarding other types of
crime, the proportion of criminals with a Swedish background
is much higher. Worth adding, the vast majority of migrants
are, just like Swedes, law-abiding citizens. A survey conduct-
ed at Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset in Gothenburg on
registered crime between 1973 and 2004, showed that 96%
of the population was entirely absent in the register for crime
of violence. All crimes of violence are committed by a small
proportion of individuals. Certain groups, namely men, juve-
niles and migrants are more prone for violence than others, but
it is worth reiterating that the vast majority among then com-
mit no crime whatsoever.
This is particularly important to bear in mind whenever
crime statistics on group level is on the agenda. Otherwise
populist simplifications will inevitably emerge, such as mi-
grants commit crimes. Generally, the relation between mi-
grants and crime is a delicate issue and should be treated with
caution to avoid generalizations and simplifications. There is
an ever-present risk, and in Europe today even more so, that
groups overrepresented in crime will be stigmatized and dis-
criminated as groups. This leads to a common statistical error
among laymen and politicians. The average height of boys in
my class says nothing about my height. And the fact that I
happen to be tall says little about group average, and even less
about another boy in the class. Ethnic groups never commit
crimes, individuals do.
The researcher should also address the limits of statistical
material. Migrant crime is often, for instance, explained by
poverty or other socioeconomic factors. Whether social dep-
rivation suddenly occurs on arrival in the new host country, or
whether it is rather the result of an earlier lifestyle cannot,
however, be answeredin the abstract without careful empirical
analysis. (See further below.)
Crime statistics only shows individuals registered for
crime. Yet, these figures might be exaggerated due to a ten-
dency among crime witnesses - whether consciously or not -
to single out migrants. Excessive focus on migrants may also
be contextualized by a comparison with three other groups
with a significantly higher crime propensity men, low
earners, and those on social benefits.
It is important to point out that the overrepresentation
among various groups always change and tends to decrease
in the long run.As indicated by a related study in Norway over
a similar period of time, overrepresentation gradually tends to
become less pronounced. It is a question of great scientific
value whether this applies to Sweden as well - for migrants
as a whole or for certain groups among them.
Furthermore, statistics on migrantscrime participation is
based on data provided by two categories within the judicial
system: suspect or convicted. However, not all crimes are
reported, and there are always a number of those who are
innocent among those suspect or convicted. When data says
a certain percentage of those convicted for, for instance, rape
has a migrant background, the real figures may be higher or
We touched upon the fact that one reason why crime
among migrants may be exaggerated is because they might
be subject to discrimination by the Swedish judicial system, or
that crime victims may be prone to single out individuals with
a migrant background. There are, on the other hand, tenden-
cies whereby criminality among migrants might be
underestimated, such as the fact that these crimes often take
place in areas where witnesses choose to remain silent. Also,
they often occur within clan structures out of sight of the legal
The respective impact of these various statistical uncer-
tainties is obviously hard to estimate. The Crime Prevention
Agency still maintains that statistics available on those
suspected and convicted offer a good or very good approxi-
mation of real overrepresentation in criminal activity. Finally,
three things should be brought in mind. First: the figures pre-
sented in this report relates to registered crime - not actual
crime. Second: they say nothing about the question why cer-
tain groups are overrepresented in crime. This is a descriptive
study. Third: migrants are not only overrepresented among
criminals, but also among victims of crime. The last observa-
tion is worth a comment. It is often said, and particularly by
12 Soc (2020) 57:921
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those who are perceived as being on the left,thatweare
only witnessing infighting among criminals, and that ordi-
nary citizens are not endangered. They try to downplay the
dangers and take the steam out of right-wing populists. But
migrants with a propensity for crime are also individuals who
should be protected as any citizen instead of being killed in
gang shoot-outs. It is not clear why this approach would coun-
ter far right ideas. In fact, right-wingers make use of similar
arguments, whereby migrants with a criminal behavior some-
how do not count as our equals, and as long as weare not in
danger, we can just close our eyes and quietly hope that the
problem with simply solve itself. The idea smacks of upper-
class detachment, whether it comes from a compassionate left
or from a heartless right.
Earlier Research
An extensive, systematic literature on criminal activity
among foreigners goes back more than a century. (See,
for instance, Hourwich 1912;Taft1933; Shaw and
McKay 1942;Tonry1997; Bucerius and Tonry 2014;
Lehti 2015; Piopiunik och Ruhose 2017;Skardhamar
2017). More recently, research has focused those who are
born in their new host country with one or two foreign-
born parents. (Killias 1989;Martens1997;Kardelland
Carlsson 2009; Salmi et al. 2015). These reports all indi-
cate that this group is more criminally active compared
with both foreign-born, and those born in the country with
two native parents.
In Sweden, a number of studies have been published where
the definition of key concepts such as registered crimeand
foreign-bornoften vary. (See, for instance, Kardell 2011;
Crime Prevention Agency, 2005; Beckley et al., 2014; Brå
2016,2017). In the studies on the period between the late
1960s and the 1980s, neither registered crime among
foreign-born with Swedish citizenship, nor registered crime
among Swedish-born to foreign-born parents could be statis-
tically assembled due to lacking data. Instead, research almost
exclusively compared individuals with a foreign citizenship
with those with a Swedish citizenship.
Subsequently, and as a result of data becoming more easily
available, a number of studies were conducted targeting
foreign-born and children of migrants between the 1980s
and the first decade of the new millennium. (Kardell 2011).
These studies all showed that the proportion of migrants reg-
istered for crime was remarkably stable, indicating an over
riskat roughly 2 throughout the period. (Over risk is similar
to overrepresentation, save for the fact that the comparison is
made only with native Swedes, instead of with the entire pop-
ulation.) No comprehensive Swedish population study exists,
however, to tell us whether or not this pattern is still valid from
2010 onwards.
This article has two major ambitions:
1. Update crime propensity among foreign-born and their
children from 2010 onwards.
2. Investigate whether or not migrantsseemingly fixed over
risk at 2 for registered crime has changed.
Judging from international research, it is hard to tell wheth-
er migrants are more prone for criminal activities compared
with the native population. According to scholars studying the
US, the foreign-born population tend to be less criminal com-
pared with the US-born population, while the situation in
Europe and the Nordic counties often is the opposite.
Registered crime among migrants can be measured in
many different ways. One method is to measure individuals
suspect for crime beyond reasonable doubt. Anotherapproach
is to calculate those registered and convicted or prosecuted
outside of court. These two methods of registered crime are
likely to produce similar results.
In Sweden, numerous studies showthat foreign-born, com-
pared to the Swedish native population, have an overrepresen-
tation in registered crime between 2 and 2,5. Over any given
period of time, the proportion of foreign-born registered for
crime as suspect or prosecuted is, hence, about twice as high
as a corresponding Swedish native population. The over risk
in crime in relation to the majority population varies between
types of crime and region of origin. Certain regions of origin
have about the same crime rate as the majority population.
Generally, migrantsover risk tends to be higher regarding
more serious crime, and lower with respect to acquisitive
crime and traffic offence.
Over any given period of time, crimes reported to police
authorities are only a fraction of crimes committed. Since a
particular number of crimes always remains undiscovered, it is
difficult to estimate factual crime rate in society. The factual
number of undiscovered crimes are obviously impossible to
Another important question is to what extent over risk in
registered crime reflects factual overrepresentation or whether
it rather relates to problem of method, where an increased
presence of migrants with a criminal record is due to discrim-
ination in the judicial system, an increased likelihood to be
singled out and reported, or greater police attendance in areas
dominated by migrants. Based on a research survey, the Crime
Prevention Agency presented various reports claiming that
while migrantscrime may be slightly biased, most of the
reported overrepresentation still reflects factual reality.
Why are migrants overrepresented in registered crime?
Many reasons have been suggested, including socioeconomic
factors such as unemployment, low income, and lacking edu-
cation (Brå 2005; Hällsten et al. 2013) along with demograph-
ic factors. Migrants have a bias towards young men, and
young men are generally more criminal. Difficulties to break
Soc (2020) 57:921 13
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up and resettle in a new country, and various problematic ways
in which they are received in Sweden - sometimes called in-
tegration practice- have been raised as other plausible factors
behind a criminal bias. (Brå 2005;Kardell2011). The 1996
study by the Crime Prevention Agency gathered data on the
number of crime suspects resident in Sweden between 1985
and 1989 based on country of birth, and then compared it with
the total number of persons from each country resident in
Sweden. The results showed an over risk for crime among
foreign-born of 2.1 compared to individuals born in Sweden
with two native parents. The statistical likelihood that any
given migrant would commit a crime was, in other words,
about twice as high compared to the likelihood for any given
native Swede.
Skardhamar et al. (2014) compared crime participation
among migrants in Norway and Finland. While migrants over-
all were overrepresented in crime in both countries, propensity
for crime differed notably between country of origin. By and
large, migrant groups overrepresented in crime in Norway
exhibited the same tendency also in Finland.
Pfeiffer et al. (2018) examined the effect of refugees on
crime in the German state of Niedersachsen by investigating
crime participation over time. Altogether, refugees were over-
represented in crime, and crimes where refugees were regis-
tered increased rapidly over time. The report also brought to
attention various investigations saying that the likelihood for
refugees to be reported for crime is significantly higher than
for German natives.
In 2017, the Norwegian Agency of Statistics investigated
the overrepresentation studying crime among migrants and
migrantschildren between 1992 and 2015. Overall, both
groups exhibited higher registered crime rate compared to
native Norwegians. However, the over risk fluctuated: in
1992 it was 1.5, going up to at most 1.8 in 2002, after which
is actually decreased to 1.4 in 2015. The report suggests var-
ious reasons behind it, such as a changing mix of migrants and
natives, or a potentially better integration. The fact that the
over risk in Norway has taken a downward turn after 2000 is
highly interesting, and the question arises: Has a similar recent
change taken place also in Sweden?
dren have a lower over risk compared to foreign-born: 1.5
between 1985 and 1989, and 1.6 between 1997 and 2001
respectively. (Brå 1996;Brå2005). Sweden, hence, devi-
ates from the international pattern, where migrantschil-
dren have a higher crime participation compared to first
generation of migrants. (Brå 2005).Accordingtoastudy
on the period 19972001 by Kardell and Martens (2013),
the total crime overrepresentation of migrantschildren as
a group is about the same as that of first-generation mi-
grants. Migrantschildren are actually less likely to be
registered for crime compared to first generation migrants.
It is, however, important to note that migrant children
registered for crime are often registered for more than
one crime.
This is an important insight, raising the question whether
second generation migrants in Sweden, as in so many other
countries, show a higher criminal propensity than first gener-
ation migrants, in particular regarding crimes of violence. In
Statistisk sentralbyrås 2017 investigation about the situation in
Norway, various categories of crime develop very differently
between first and second generation migrants. The results in
Denmark are similar. Here, second generation migrants with
non-European parents are more overrepresented in registered
crime (Danmarks Statistik 2016).
Another finding across Swedish studies is, worth repeating,
the fact that migrantsover risk has remained surprisingly
consistent over time despite the fact that the group of mi-
grants has shifted somewhat towards groups with a higher risk
to be registered in crime. (von Hofer and Tham 1991; Kardell
2011). What is the cause of this stability? Does it still prevail?
High quality data allowing for standardized comparisons
between groups is of a fairly recent date. While earlier studies
focused foreign citizens, more recent investigations study mi-
grants. Studies dealing with crimes related to migrants dates
back to at least the 1960, but scholarly interest in systematic
comparisons and in particular regarding children to migrants
started only recently. More detailed investigations on regis-
tered crime among foreign-born and children to one or two
migrants only stretches back to the end of the 1980s (Brå
1996; von Hofer and Tham 1991). Data on crimes among
migrantschildren are, however, only available from the turn
of the millennium onwards. (Brå 2005;Kardell2011; Kardell
and Martens 2013).
As a result of the present study, we now have the opportu-
nity to update the material with more than a decade. This time
frame, worth underscoring, also witnessed significant changes
in the size and composition of the population of migrants and
their off-spring. A systematic long-term investigation, then,
calls for an urgent update of the statistical material.
Method and Data Material
The main purpose of this report is to investigate the develop-
ment over time of registered crime for migrants and migrants
children. Two research questions are particularly interesting.
Question No. 1: Migrants. Recently, we have seen a con-
tinuous, stable over risk of registered crime among migrants in
Sweden of around 2. Are we witnessing a structural result
likely to change very little in the long run? Or is it rather mere
coincidence, accidentally indicating 2.0 a few times in a row?
According to results from Norway, the over risk is fluctuating
considerably and has taken a downward turn recently. What
about Sweden?
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Question No. 2: Migrantschildren. In contrast to many
other countries, Sweden, as shown by earlier studies,
displayed lower overrepresentation among migrantschildren
compared to migrants generally (von Hofer and Tham 1991;
Brå 1996;Brå2005). Is this pattern still valid, or is Sweden
gradually complying to a general international trend?
Contrary to the general pattern of registered crime, mi-
grantschildren exhibit more crimes per suspect along with
a higher likelihood for lifestyle criminality (Kardell 2011;
Beckley et al. 2014). These are all interesting issues. The
present study, however, is purely descriptive, and causes and
mechanisms behind overrepresentation are left out.
This article is based on the 2005 study by the Crime
Prevention Agency in order to allow for statistical compari-
sons. Similarly as the agency, we shall, hence, calculate data
by comparing The Register over individuals suspected for
crime with The Register of total population at Statistics
In line with recommendations by Statistics Sweden (2002)
about how to present public data material, the population will
be separated into four groups as presented in Table 1.
According to earlier studies, migrantsaverage crime par-
ticipation differs between categories of crime. (Brå 1996;Brå
2005; Kardell 2011). Sexual crime, for instance, has a higher
overrepresentation than theft, and different categories of crime
may change over time. In addition to total number of crimes,
we shall also study seven distinct categories listed in Table 2.
While the categorization is based on the 2005 report by the
Crime Prevention Agency, categories are somewhat fewer.
Less serious crimes are being summarized underOther
In numerous previous studies, data comprising everyone
with a migrant background has been supplemented by data
on migrants based on either country of origin, or region of
origin. The findings suggest important differences in average
crime rate. Average registered crime divided by region may
also have evolved in different directions, as indicated by a
recent Norwegian report (Statistisk sentralbyrå 2017).
This article will present data on everyone with a migrant
background, and in addition separately present registered
crime based on seven regions of origin - from where data on
migrantschildren are reliable and easy to access. These seven
regions of origin are laid out in Table 3. This article is based on
geographical categorizations and the economic situation of
country of origin and relates closely to the 2005 report by
the Crime Prevention Agency. Only a small number of mi-
grants come from the U.S., Canada, Australia and remaining
Oceania. Therefore, they will be combined with Western
Europe as they all share similar economic development.
Crime registered in Sweden can be linked to those who are
nationally registered, but many crimes are committed by indi-
viduals from abroad on temporary visit to Sweden such as
tourists, gangs travelling to Sweden to commit crimes, paper-
less migrants as well as newly arrived asylum seekers still
awaiting permanent residency. Authorities have no clear pic-
ture about the number of individuals in Sweden at any given
point in time who are not nationally registered. It is therefore
hard to assess their level of overrepresentation in the material.
Still, it is possible to give a fairly accurate estimate on the
level of crime conducted by suspects who are not nationally
registered. According to the Crime Prevention Agency, this
group was behind about 3% of registered crime between 1985
and 1989, and about 7% between 1997 and 2001 respectively.
For our period of investigation, we shall similarly present the
proportion of crimes by individuals not nationally registered.
These findings will not, however, be included in any possible
overrepresentation because this would require reliable data on
total population of non-nationally registered within Sweden,
and the authorities, as noted above, cannot provide this. This
study will update the findings above by presenting data from
2002 to 2006, and from 2013 to 2017 respectively.
During this particular period in time, the number of crimes
has increased bothbymerenumbersandinrelationto
Swedens population. As earlier noted, registered crime is al-
ways dependent on the level of reports and legal changes and
Table 1 Separation of Swedens population into four subgroups
(1) Individuals born in Sweden by two native-born parents
(2) Individuals born in Sweden by one native parent and one foreign-born
(3) Individuals born in Sweden by two foreign-born parents
(4) Individuals born abroad
Table 2 Seven different categories of crime
(1) Murder, manslaughter, deadly assault (incl. Attempt etc.)
(2) Assault incl. Maltreatment, aggravated assault, and particularly
aggravated assault
(3) Rape and violent rape (incl. Attempt etc.)
(4) Other sexual crimes (excl. rape)
(5) Robbery, incl. Robbery with violence
(6) Theft, incl. Petty theft and grand theft
(7) All other crimes (excl. Crimes in above categories)
Table 3 Seven regions of origin for individuals with a foreign
(1) Western countries (Western Europe and the U.S., Canada and
(2) Eastern Europa (Incl. Russia, Azerbajdzjan, Georgia and Armenia)
(3) Latin America (Incl. Central America)
(4) Western Asia (Incl. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan)
(5) Eastern Asia (Incl. India and Pakistan)
(6) Africa
(7) Unknown or stateless
Soc (2020) 57:921 15
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
should not be seen as an objective measurement of criminal
activity. The statistical material in this article is not based on
registered crime, but on individuals suspected for crime on
reasonable grounds. Practically, this means that this particular
individual has been suspect of a crime by police, attorney or
any other crime investigating authority, where substantial and
objective circumstances seems to be at hand, strongly suggest-
ing that the particular individual has in fact committed the
crime in question.
In contrast to reported crime, the number of individuals
suspected of crime on reasonable grounds have not seen an
increase towards the end of the period but rather a decline.
This might be caused by numerous factors, such as the pro-
portion of resolved crimesand a certain backlog in the judicial
process. The results of this study are likely to be affected by
these considerations. If this is the case, some clarification
might be provided by future statistical updates and by studies
on individuals convicted for crime after a court process. On
the basis of statistics provided by the Crime Prevention
Agency, Fig. 1shows the development of total number of
crimes in relation to the population from 1985 to 2018.
Individuals with a foreign background, earlier studies main-
tain, has been overrepresented in Swedish crime statistics,
particularly those who are born in a foreign country. Albeit
to a somewhat lesser degree, those born in Sweden with at
least one foreign-born parent also exhibit a higher risk of
being registered for crime. Statistics on migrants and crime
has not, however, been revised since the publication of the
2005 report by the Crime Prevention Agency covering the
period from 1997 to 2001.
This article is based on statistical material from the Crime
Prevention Agency, using the same method as the agency in
order to update the material to 2017. For the first time, the
majority of those registered as crime suspects are foreign-
born. The proportion of those with a foreign background in-
crease from 18% between 1985 and 1989 to 33% between
2013 and 2017. During these two time intervals, the propor-
tion of crime suspects with a foreign background went up
from 31% to 58%.
Concerning certain types of crime, migrantsover risk is
even higher. Regarding murder and manslaughter, the propor-
tion rose from 42% to 72%. At the same time, however, mi-
grantsover risk for crime only increased slightly. How is this
possible? Because practically the entire increase in crime pro-
pensity among migrants was caused by the fact that their share
of the population had increased. This is an important observa-
tion. The reason behind the rising trend, hence, has little to do
with individual migrants becoming more prone to criminal
activity. The over risk among the entire population of migrants
increased from 1.8 between 1985 and 1989 to 2.0 between
1997 and 2001. No further changes have been registered be-
tween 2013 and 2017. Registered crime among those who are
not nationally registered has, moreover, increased drastically.
If we compare first and second generation of migrants, the
development has gone in the opposite direction. Since 2005
and the publication of the second report by the Crime
Prevention Agency, the over risk for first generation of mi-
grants has gone down, while it has increased for second gen-
eration of migrants born in Sweden. The downward turn re-
garding first generation of migrants also applies for individ-
uals from countries outside of Europe, even if this material
does not include some newly arrived refugees.
Sweden used to be somewhat of a statistical outlier, with
second generation of migrants showing a clearly lower crime
risk compared to first generation. At the time, Sweden resem-
bled the development in Norway, according to Norwegian
Statistics Office. As shown by the present article, these figures
no longer apply. Instead, we are currently witnessing a rapid
increase in registered crime among juveniles with a foreign
background. The proportion of crime among individuals with
a foreign background has increased not only in general terms
but also regarding most crimes. One exception is constituted
by rape and attempted rape, where the groupsoverriskhas
gone down considerably. Migrantsshare of other sexual
crimes has, simultaneously, increased. To what extent this is
caused by changes in the definition of rape as a concept during
our period remain, however, an open question.
Another striking change has to do with the increase of
crime suspects among those who are not nationally registered.
These individuals are all from abroad but absent in the group
of migrants because they are not nationally registered.
Fig. 1 Reported crime per 1000 inhabitants (Brå)
16 Soc (2020) 57:921
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Undocumented migrants, asylum seekers yet to enter the sys-
tem, foreign gangs, and temporary visitors count among them.
This groups share of total crime saw an increase from 3%
between 1985 and 1989 to 13% between 2013 and 2017.
Information available for each and every definition within this
group is unreliable. This means, for instance, that unregistered
Table 4 Total number of crimes 20132017
Total number of crimes Nationally Registered 1544 years
of age on Dec. 31, 2012
Suspected for crime on
reasonable grounds 20132017
Over risk
Suspicion of
Standardized for
gender and age
Domestically born: two native
born parents
Domestically born: one native,
one foreign-born par.
Domestically born: two
foreign-born parents
Born abroad:
Western countries
Eastern Europe
Latin America
Wes t A sia
East Asia
Total excl. Not nationally
Not nationally registered
Total incl. Not nationally
1703 982
Table 5 Over risk for various groups and types of crime in relation to native Swedes
Total crime Foreign background Of which children to immigrants Of which foreign-born
19851989 1.8 1.5 2.1
19972001 2.0 1.6 2.5
20022006 2.1 1.7 2.4
20132017 2.0 1.8 2.1
Murder Foreign background Of which children to immigrants Of which foreign-born
19851989 2.7 1.5 3.5
19972001 3.0 2.3 3.8
20022006 3.8 3.3 4.2
20132017 4.1 4.3 3.9
Assault Foreign background Of which children to immigrants Of which foreign-born
19972001 2.3 1.7 2.9
20022006 2.4 1.9 2.8
20132017 2.4 2.0 2.6
Robbery Foreign background Of which children to immigrants Of which foreign-born
19851989 2.0 2.1 2.0
19972001 3.5 3.1 3.9
20022006 4.2 3.7 4.6
20132017 3.1 3.9 2.6
Rape Foreign background Of which children to immigrants Of which foreign-born
19851989 3.2 1.5 4.5
19972001 3.8 2.0 5.5
20022006 2.9 1.6 4.0
20132017 2.2 1.6 2.6
Soc (2020) 57:921 17
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
cannot be included in data about migrantsover risk for crime,
because over risk measures likelihood to be registered for
crime per person and non-registered are not identified. Then
again, unregistered are included in the more general statistics
about migrantstotal number of crimes.
The number of those who are not nationally registered in
Sweden is unknown. Migrantsover risk in crime would most
likely rise in case undocumented migrants and asylum seekers
were included in the definition. There is an added complexity
here. As we saw above, the group of not nationally registered
now constitutes a large proportion of registered crime. This,
however, makes it harder to compare migrant groups, because
we cant establish country of origin among those who are not
nationally registered. The fact that undocumented migrants
has shifted from being a marginal factor to constituting a sig-
nificant proportion of all known crime suspects urgently calls
for more research on this particular category.
Migrantsparticipation in crime is a cause for optimism as
well as concern. Since the 2005 report by the Crime
Prevention Agency, migrantsproportion of total crime has
gone up. Regarding first generation of migrants, however,
the over risk has subsided somewhat both generally speak-
ing and in relation to various crime categories. While this
decline is particularly strong concerning first generation of
migrants from the West, it is also noticeable among first gen-
eration of migrants from non-Western countries. With regard
to certain types of crime, itis now, onthe basis of the 1996 and
2005 reports by the Crime Prevention Agency, possible to
compare new data with earlier figures. This is, however, not
possible concerning other types of crime as the reports fail to
present this material is a way that allows for accurate compar-
isons or detailed analysis.
Assault, robbery and rape count among crimes where the
over risk of first-generation migrants has declined. With re-
gard to murder, however, an already high over risk among first
generation migrants has increased further still. If we turn to
rape, the over risk has declined for both first and second gen-
eration of migrants. On the other hand, the over risk has in-
creased for assault and robbery by second generation of mi-
grants. We are, moreover, witnessing a sharp upward turn in
terms of second generations over risk for murder.
The general trend remains basically the same, in case we
standardize for age and gender. (See Table 4.) In the 1996 and
2005 report from the Crime Prevention Agency, adjustments
were also made for so-called socio-economic factors, such as
income, education, and occupation. Socio-economic factors
1985–1989 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 4 Proportion of registered murder, manslaughter and attempted
1985–1989 1997–2001 2002–2006 2013–2017
Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 2 Proportion of population
1985–1989 1997–2001 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 3 Proportion of total crime
1985–1989 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 5 Proportion of registered assault
18 Soc (2020) 57:921
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
should always be taken into consideration, and in the 1996
and 2005 reports, the over risk among migrants went down
when they were applied. Still, socio-economic factors do not
answer the question of causal relation and are therefore widely
questioned. Whether poverty in a new host country leads to
criminality, or a previous criminal behavior from the home
county leads to poverty in the new host country is an open
question and cannot be answered without rigorous analysis.
Without taking sides in this discussion, it seems difficult to
defend the idea that people immigrate into a country without a
lifestyle and a rather firm set of personal beliefs. Therefore,
this article has not taken socio-economic factors into
It should be noted that the data in Table 4relates to total
number of crimes, where one individual may commit more
than one crime. Table 5, in contrast, presents the proportion of
individuals registered for crime irrespective of number of
crimes committed.
Figure 2shows the proportion of the various groups under
the four respective time periods. While the two earlier periods
(19851989 and 19972001) correspond with the two reports
by the Crime Prevention Agency, the two latter intervals
(20022006 and 20132017) constitute the two periods of
interest in the present article.
The various groupsproportion of being registered for sus-
picion of various crime is presented in Figs. 3,4,5,6,7,8.
Table 5presents the over risk regarding various migrant
groups compared to native Swedes. The over risk of the latest
two periods of investigation has been compared with the two
reports by the Crime Prevention Agency (1996 and 2005).
(Age groups and other methods are not identical.) Data pre-
sented relates to proportion of individuals suspect of at least
one crime at any point in time. The data does not, hence,
account for the fact that certain individuals commit many
crimes a tendency, moreover, more common among
Total over risk among migrants has seen a moderate decline
since the 2005 Crime Prevention Agency report. There are,
however, significant differences in between groups. While the
over risk has gone down among first generation of migrants, it
has increased among children to migrants born in Sweden. In
addition, the fairly widespread criminality among those who
are not nationally registered is also absent in the material
partly because there is no available statistics about the exact
size of this particular population. Judging by estimates avail-
able on not nationally registered - undocumented migrants,
asylum seekers and temporary visitors from abroad - the group
is relatively small in size. This would probably mean that the
crime over risk for the entire group of migrants has not, in fact,
declined but increased compared with the earlier reports by
the Crime Prevention Agency.
Figure 3to Fig. 8demonstrate that the proportion of crime
committed by migrants has seen a steady increase, at the same
time as the over risk remains fairly stable. There are three
reasons for it.
1. These figures measure total number of registered crimes,
taking into consideration the fact that some criminals
commit more than one crime. In Table 5,incontrast,a
person registered for crime is only counted once.
1985–1989 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 6 Proportion of registered rape and attempted rape
1985–1989 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 7 Proportion of registered other sexual offences
1985–1989 2002–2006 2013–2017
Unregistered Immigrants Children of immigrants Swedish origin
Fig. 8: Proportion of registered robbery.
Soc (2020) 57:921 19
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2. Migrants share of the population is increasing. An in-
crease in migrantsproportion of total registered crime
does not require an increased over risk, as long as their
share of the population is on the rise.
3. Those who are not nationally registered are included in
Fig. 3to Fig. 8.Criminal activity within this group has
increased drastically.
It is hard to assess with any precision the number of unreg-
istered present in Sweden at any given moment. Based on
existing information, we may, however, make an estimate.
See Table 6. Note that this table differ from earlier tables for
two reasons. First, it includes an estimate of over risk where
unregistered are present. Second, the definition of over risk is
not as share of individuals registered for crime but based on
total number of crimes for all migrants. The difference, then,
relates to individuals who have committed more than one
crime during the period of investigation. While Tab l e 6pre-
sents total crime for each and every group, Table 5presents
share of individuals in a group guilty of at least one crime.
Since unregistered have a very high propensity for crime, their
presence in the data will increase over risk for migrants com-
pared to 19972011.
Between 2013 and 2017, for instance, 102,680 individ-
uals were filed by the Swedish Migration Authority, most
of whom belonged to the category unregistered. On the
basis of the data by Statistics Sweden on booked nights
on hotels and other facilities, the number of foreign visi-
tors amounts to a year around population of about 40,000
individuals. Based on a state investigation on social care
for undocumented individuals, their number was estimat-
ed at 10,00035,000, while a government proposition on
health care demand estimated this group to about 22,500
individuals. The Swedish Police has assessed the number
of EU-migrants to around 40005000 individuals, while
the number of cases of deportation has been estimated to
24,000. (Sveriges verkliga befolkningsmängd 2015/16).
These numbers are merely an approximation. Most
likely, they include a certain double-count. Then again,
foreign criminal gangs travelling through Sweden, visi-
tors staying at friends, recurring cases of lacking data or
incorrect information, and individuals not registered as
crime suspects at the Crime Prevention Agency due to
backlog, are all excluded. The number of un-registered
are most likely larger within the age groups studied in
this article. All in all, they would not count as more
than a few per centage of total population, or about
10% of total migrant population.
Even if these approximations are vague, it is still possible
to suggest an over risk for the total group of migrants includ-
ing unregistered individuals. In the table below, it has been
suggested that unregistered migrants make up about 10% of
Swedens total migrant population.
If unregistered individuals are left out in data since
the 2005 report by the Crime Prevention Agency, the
total over risk for migrants has decreased slightly. If
they are included, however, it has increased. Various
groups within the migrant population display notable
differences. While the over risk has gone down among
first generation migrants, it has increased among chil-
dren to migrants born in Sweden.
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tional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Göran Adamson is an Associate Professor in Sociology, with a Ph.D.
from the LSE. He is the author of 5 books, chiefly dealing with the
reactionary tendencies of multiculturalism. His next book is entitled
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with the Exotic (Routledge, 2020).
Soc (2020) 57:921 21
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... Pro and anti-immigration factions in the U.S. both provide compelling arguments to support their position on immigration (Butcher & Piehl, 1998;Davis & Deole, 2015;Davis & Smith, 1994;McCann & Boateng, 2020;Wacquant, 1999). Several arguments have been advanced by both factions to support their position on immigration, the most notable ones are the negative and positive consequences of immigration on the socio-economic, cultural, and political values of the U.S. (Adamson, 2020;Berardi & Bucerius, 2014;Pryce, 2016Pryce, , 2018Stephan & Stephan, 2000); the perception that crime rate is associated with immigration (Adamson, 2020;Barker, 2012;Boateng et al., 2021;Ferraro, 2016;Light, 2017;Light & Miller, 2018;Lyons et. al., 2013;Nunziata, 2015); white supremacy, racial prejudice, and xenophobia in the U.S. (McCann & Boateng, 2020;Treitler, 2015); false knowledge, ignorance about immigrants, and failure of local communities to accept immigrants (Gorodzeisky & Semyonov 2016;Major et al., 2018;Pryce, 2018;Tolsma et al., 2008Tolsma et al., , 2009Tummala-Narra, 2020;Wray-Lake et al., 2018); political explanations like party identification, political trust, and ideology (Hajnal & Rivera, 2014;Hawley, 2011Hawley, , 2019Neiman et al., 2006); and demographic characteristics like religion, income, gender, sexual orientation, age, geographical location among others (Bowling & Westenra, 2017;Brown & Brown, 2017;Davis & Deole, 2015;Docquier et al., 2012;Garcia & Davidson, 2013;Haaland & Roth, 2020;Knoll, 2009;Lichter, 2012;Miller et al., 2008;Provine & Sanchez, 2011), among other explanatory factors. ...
... Pro and anti-immigration factions in the U.S. both provide compelling arguments to support their position on immigration (Butcher & Piehl, 1998;Davis & Deole, 2015;Davis & Smith, 1994;McCann & Boateng, 2020;Wacquant, 1999). Several arguments have been advanced by both factions to support their position on immigration, the most notable ones are the negative and positive consequences of immigration on the socio-economic, cultural, and political values of the U.S. (Adamson, 2020;Berardi & Bucerius, 2014;Pryce, 2016Pryce, , 2018Stephan & Stephan, 2000); the perception that crime rate is associated with immigration (Adamson, 2020;Barker, 2012;Boateng et al., 2021;Ferraro, 2016;Light, 2017;Light & Miller, 2018;Lyons et. al., 2013;Nunziata, 2015); white supremacy, racial prejudice, and xenophobia in the U.S. (McCann & Boateng, 2020;Treitler, 2015); false knowledge, ignorance about immigrants, and failure of local communities to accept immigrants (Gorodzeisky & Semyonov 2016;Major et al., 2018;Pryce, 2018;Tolsma et al., 2008Tolsma et al., , 2009Tummala-Narra, 2020;Wray-Lake et al., 2018); political explanations like party identification, political trust, and ideology (Hajnal & Rivera, 2014;Hawley, 2011Hawley, , 2019Neiman et al., 2006); and demographic characteristics like religion, income, gender, sexual orientation, age, geographical location among others (Bowling & Westenra, 2017;Brown & Brown, 2017;Davis & Deole, 2015;Docquier et al., 2012;Garcia & Davidson, 2013;Haaland & Roth, 2020;Knoll, 2009;Lichter, 2012;Miller et al., 2008;Provine & Sanchez, 2011), among other explanatory factors. ...
... First, it was observed that fear of immigrants which can be rooted in several factors such as ignorance, false knowledge, white supremacy, racial prejudice, and xenophobia strongly influence public support for police stops targeted at illegal immigrants and immigrants with a criminal background (Adamson, 2020;Hawley, 2019;McCann & Boateng, 2020;Treitler, 2015;). Racial prejudice, white supremacy and xenophobia is strongly liked with fear of immigrants (Adamson, 2020;McCann & Boateng, 2020). ...
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Immigration is a contentious topic that continues to generate debates among scholars , practitioners, and the general public in the United States. Recent increase in anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S. have led to the proliferation of studies seeking to explain this phenomenon. However, the results from these studies have been inconsistent and inconclusive due to various factors. The present study adds to these existing studies by examining the predictors of public support for police stops targeted at illegal immigrants and immigrants with a criminal background. Results from our binary logistics regression suggest that political factors, the fear of immigrants , and some socio demographic variables influence public support for police stops targeted at illegal immigrants and immigrants with a criminal background in the U.S. The present findings have serious theoretical and practical implications for understanding immigration, police-immigrant relationships, and public attitude towards immigration policy and immigrants in the U.S.
... As mentioned in the previous section, European FRPPs have regularly framed forced migrants as perpetrators of sexual violence since the mass sexual assaults on NYE 2015-16 in Germany. Framing strategies pertinent to this trope range from the exaggeration of migrant crime rates (Adamson, 2020) to the fabrication of stories that legitimise exclusionist agendas. A recent example of the latter occurred in mid-2020 when far-right groups throughout Europe falsified the events surrounding the murder of a Swedish male with ties to neo-Nazi groups, Tommie Lindh, in order to present the man as a 'hero' and champion of women's rights (Colborne, 2020). ...
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Multiple conservative parties in Europe and Australia have enjoyed a considerable level of electoral success in recent times on the back of their restrictionist asylum agendas. These agendas are often justified by the symbolic threat argument, which asserts that forced migrants hold values that represent a threat to host societies. However, despite the immense consequences of this belief, its empirical validity has rarely been investigated in previous literature. We addressed this problem by comparing the responses of forced migrants (N = 163) and both Australian and European (French, British, Polish and Spanish) natives (N = 816) to the same 10-item value questionnaire using latent profile analysis. Our findings revealed that forced migrant values appear to be at odds with established liberties in France, Spain, the UK and Australia, and to a much lesser extent, Poland. We encourage future researchers to use these discoveries as a basis for developing further knowledge on intergroup value discrepancies to ultimately facilitate peaceful integration of forced migrants in their host countries.
... Sweden has received considerable attention for its challenges associated with immigrants being involved in criminal activity and social disruption (Adamson, 2020;Beckley et al., 2017;Hallsten et al., 2013;Martens, 1997). Viewing the situation in light of research on discrimination and stereotyping, it is likely that discrimination creates a vicious circle starting with overestimating in-group and out-group differences, stereotyping, and discrimination, particularly in the labour and housing markets generating financial and social problems. ...
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In this paper, we examine ethnic discrimination using sport as a laboratory. Applying a field experiment in the three Scandinavian countries-Sweden, Norway, and Denmark-we test whether foreign female minority groups experience greater rejection rates when seeking inclusion in amateur soccer clubs. Soccer coaches were contacted by e-mail using native and foreign-sounding names from selected groups, requesting to participate in trial practice. Previous findings show persistent discrimination of foreign minority groups in the labour market, and recent work suggests that discrimination also occurs in the context of soccer. Our findings from Scandinavia show that Sweden is the only country that shows statistically significant signs of discriminatory patterns, and the probability of experiencing discrimination increases with cultural distance. However, cultural distance appears to have no influence in Norway and Denmark. We further investigate whether male or female coaches demonstrate different discriminatory behaviour when being contacted, but our analysis shows almost no gender differences. Findings suggest that how men and women differ in their discriminatory behaviour is context specific. The differences identified across nations and previous studies are discussed to better understand the mechanisms of discrimination.
... However, we expect these biases to be small. There is limited evidence that registered immigrants have less access to health care in Sweden (Appoh et al., 2020), and while studies identifying an overrepresentation of first-and second-generation immigrants compared to native Swedes in suspicion of crime registries (Adamson, 2020), the codes for alcohol-related crimes or suspicion of crimes account for only a small portion of the identified AUD diagnoses. ...
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Background: This study aimed to determine the robustness of the impact of immigration on risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD) using different measures, designs, and immigrant regional cohorts. Methods: The analytic sample was all individuals born between 1950 and 1990 and registered in Sweden from 1973 to 2017. Using Cox regression models, we examined the risk for AUD from Swedish nationwide registries in immigrants to Sweden from seven geographical regions: Africa, Asia and Oceania, Eastern Europe, Finland, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East/North Africa, and Western countries. We assessed greater exposure to Swedish culture, which we interpreted as increasing acculturation, by i) comparing first generation immigrants and their children with none and one native Swedish parent and ii) examining age at immigration. The baseline comparison group was the native Swedish population. We further examined AUD risk in first-generation sibling pairs discordant for their age at immigration. Results: In nearly all immigrant cohorts in Sweden, increasing degrees of acculturation, as assessed by both our variables, were associated with rates of AUD that approached those of the Swedish population. These findings occurred in both men and women and both in regional cohorts whose first-generation immigrants had lower and higher levels of AUD compared to native-born Swedes. For most cohorts, the rates of change with acculturation were greater in women than in men. In sibling pairs from most regions, the sibling who was younger at immigration had higher rates of AUD. Conclusions: An examination of both sexes and two different proxies for acculturation provide consistent support for socio-cultural influences on AUD risk. Our co-sibling analyses suggest that a meaningful proportion of this effect is likely to be causal in nature.
... A Swedish study found that 58% of total crime suspects were migrants, and 70% of robbery cases and 73% of murder, manslaughter, and attempted murder cases involved migrants. In particular, from 2002 to 2017, migrants were blamed for the quadrupling of the Swedish murder rate (6). However, in Italy, immigration was only found to be associated with an increase in robbery (7). ...
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Background The association between mental health problems and crime in immigrants has attracted recent academic interest, with results suggesting that there were possible interactions between immigration, schizophrenia, and criminal behavior. However, very few studies have examined these interactions, especially in developing countries that have mass internal immigration. Therefore, this study sought to identify the associations between the sociodemographic, clinical, and criminal factors in migrants and non-migrants with schizophrenia who had been involved in criminal activities in China. Methods Forensic archives of suspects who had been referred for criminal responsibility assessments in the Sichuan West China Forensic Center from January 2015 to December 2019 were reviewed. The sociodemographic, and criminal activity information of the suspects were extracted, while the clinical and social function were measured by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and Social Disability Screening Schedule (SDSS) based on the archives. A Chi-squared test, a T-test, a Mann-Whitney U test, and Multinomial logistic regression were employed for the statistical analysis. Results A total of 552 patients were reviewed and evaluated, 17.2% ( n = 95) of which were migrants. The migrant patient group was younger than the non-migrant patient group. The BPRS and SDSS scores for the migrant patient group were lower than for the non-migrant patient group. The migrant patient group had more work experience and more had been employed at the time of the crime than the non-migrant patient group. The unemployed migrant patients were more likely to commit a property-related crime. Conclusions Compared to the non-migrant schizophrenia patient group, the migrant patient group had less severe psychiatric symptoms and less social function impairments. Employment was an important factor in preventing criminality in patients with schizophrenia, especially for migrant patients. Vocational rehabilitation focuses on developing appropriate employment that can significantly assist in schizophrenia patient recovery, which in turn could reduce their chances of committing crime. Besides, reducing other obstacles to stigma, housing and health insurance would also be beneficial to crime reduction.
... Fakat her halükârda, aynı yaş grubundaki İsveç vatandaşları ile kıyaslandığında, yarı oranla daha yüksek bir sonuç elde edildiği ortaya çıkmıştır. Aynı konsey tarafından 2005 yılında açıklanan bir raporda, öncekiyle paralel şekilde, suç eğiliminin suçun ciddiyetine göre arttığı ifade edilmiştir (Adamson, 2020). ...
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2011 yılında başlayan Suriye İç Savaşı, çok büyük göç dalgalarına yol açmıştır. Bu çalışmanın temel amacı, bölgesel ve küresel bir sorun haline gelen Suriye Göç Krizini ortaya çıkardığı güvenlik endişeleri bakımından karşılaştırmalı bir şekilde incelemektir. Bu kapsamda, Avrupa Birliği'nde en fazla Suriyeli göçmen kabul etmiş üç ülke (Almanya, İsveç, Avusturya) ile en az Suriyeli göçmen kabul etmiş üç ülke (Slovakya, Çekya, Macaris-tan) ve Türkiye olmak üzere üç farklı kategoride karşılaştırmalı bir analiz yapmaktır. Bu üç kategorideki aktörlerin Suriye Göç Krizi konusundaki tu-tumları 'güvenlik endişeleri' alt başlığında değerlendirilmektedir. Tarafla-rın, kriz sürecinde değişen iç dinamikleri ve göç krizi bağlamında gerçekle-şen ortak ilişkileri ayrıca analiz edilmektedir. Çalışmanın temel iddiası; göç krizinin, bu çalışmada ele alınan ülkelerin kendi içlerinde ve birbirleriyle ilişkilerinde değişimlere sebep olduğu; söz konusu ülkelerde göçmenlere dair 'güvenlik tehdidi' algısının gerçek suç işleme istatistiklerine göre çok daha ileri boyutta olduğu şeklindedir.
Human migration and displacement are age-old phenomena that no society has ever been able to evade historically. They are experiences that help societies and peoples mature and grow and are developments that make the world demographically and culturally more fertile. On the downside, however, displacements and migrations—when triggered by conflicts—can lead to the spillover of traumatic memories, criminal behaviours, and radical inclinations from one part of the world to another. The 21st century has witnessed multiple internal and external migrations around the globe prompted by conflicts. Are these conflict-induced migrants prone to becoming unofficial emissaries of intractable conflicts and failed states? The study is interested in analysing the geopolitics of conflict-actuated mass displacement in the 21st century. In doing so, it will also excavate how international power struggles affect local populations, lead to both internal and external displacements, and result in almost perpetual conflict cycles.
Spätestens seit der zweiten Hälfte der 2010er Jahre ist in Deutschland ein Phänomenbereich zum Gegenstand öffentlicher Auseinandersetzung geworden, der als ‚Clankriminalität‘ bezeichnet wird. Im Zentrum einschlägiger Diskurse stehen familiäre Verbünde, die ethnischen Minderheiten zugerechnet und mit unterschiedlichen Formen abweichenden Verhaltens in Verbindung gebracht werden. Dazu gezählt werden beispielsweise spektakuläre Diebstähle und Raubstraftaten, organisierte Kriminalität (etwa im Bereich der Drogendelikte und des Menschenhandels), diverse Formen von Alltagskriminalität, Geschäftsaktivitäten unterschiedlicher Legalitätsgrade, und auch nichtkriminelle Handlungen wie etwa eine als provozierend wahrgenommene Beanspruchung öffentlichen Raumes. An einer einheitlichen und konsensfähigen Definition des Begriffs ‚Clankriminalität‘ fehlt es bislang. Die vorliegende Arbeit nimmt eine Bestandsaufnahme der einschlägigen deutsch- und englischsprachigen Fach- und Forschungsliteratur vor. Hierfür wurden insgesamt 104 Publikationen aus den Jahren 2000 bis 2021 einbezogen. Auf dieser Basis werden das Erscheinungsbild, mögliche Entstehungsbedingungen und gesellschaftliche, insbesondere sicherheitsbehördliche, Reaktionen systematisch dargestellt und erläutert.
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This study investigates Swedish conviction trends by individuals’ immigrant background for the period 1973–2017. The central research question is whether relative differences in conviction levels have increased, declined or remained unchanged over recent decades. This question is examined in part using a traditional cross-sectional approach, and in part using a cohort-based approach. All results are presented by gender, and results for the cohort-based approach also by holding socioeconomic background constant. The results show that conviction levels have decreased, to a greater extent among men than among women, irrespective of immigrant background. The level of overrepresentation among those born in Sweden to foreign-born parents has increased somewhat, while the overrepresentation of those born abroad has decreased towards the end of the period examined.
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Immigrants are known to be overrepresented in the crime statistics of Nordic countries. However, the composition of immigrant populations varies across countries both in terms of immigrants’ country of origin as well as their population structure (age and sex). Cross-country comparison of crime rates is always difficult because of differences in legal systems, but it is even more challenging when using very broad categories of immigrants, lumping heterogeneous groups together. Previous studies have largely compared the entire immigrant population of a country with the majority population, which under-appreciates the heterogeneity that exists across immigrant groups. In this paper, we compare the crime rates in Norway and Finland, while adding additional nuances by reporting crime rates for 25 specific immigrant groups relative to the majority population. The data are gathered from Finnish and Norwegian administrative records, representing or comprising the resident population aged 15–64. We analyse both violent crime and property crime, and we present the results adjusted for population structure (sex and age). The results show considerable similarity in the rank order of crime rates of immigrant groups in the two Nordic countries. Although the current study is mainly descriptive, it aims to set some limits to what it is to be explained. In fact, the diversity is so great that it is questionable whether one should treat immigrants as one single group at all. Whatever the causal mechanisms driving immigrant crime are, it seems plausible that some similar processes are operating across the Nordic region.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, more than 3 million people with German ancestors immigrated to Germany under a special law granting immediate citizenship. Despite their German ancestry, they are similar to other migrants in terms of low German-language proficiency, low education levels, and low labor market attachment. Exploiting the exogenous allocation of ethnic German immigrants by German authorities across regions upon arrival, we find that immigration significantly increases crime. The crime impact depends on regional conditions, with larger effects in regions with high preexisting crime levels, large shares of foreigners, and high population densities. We also find evidence for stronger impacts in regions with high unemployment.
The article describes the days-of-presence adjusted (DPA) crime rates of different non-resident visitor groups in Finland, and discusses the feasibility of this kind of analysis. The analyses of the article have been based on the published crime statistics and unpublished data of the Border Interview Surveys of Statistics Finland. The data cover the years 2009–2012. The findings indicate that DPA crime rates are a useful tool to compare the criminality of different visitor groups, particularly for showing the patterns of professional property crime. The findings also indicate that DPA crime rates in Finland are highest for visitor groups where persons involved in professional property crime form a substantial percentage of the visitors.
Differences in the crime involvement of immigrants and the native population have been a major topic in criminology for decades. This interest stems from the fact that immigrants are overrepresented in the crime statistics of many European countries. Our study compares delinquency among native and immigrant youth in Finland. The analysis is based on the 2012 sweep of the Finnish Self-Report Delinquency Study (N = 8914). The results show that several forms of delinquency were more prevalent among immigrants than among native youth. Multivariate analyses indicate that routine activities and parental control were related to the immigrant youths’ higher risk of active delinquency. After adjusting for a wide range of background variables, the immigrants’ higher risk of delinquency decreased, but remained significant.
We examine the gap in registered crime between the children of immigrants and the children of native Swedes. We follow all individuals who completed compulsory schooling during the period 1990–93 in the Stockholm Metropolitan area (N = 63,462) up to their thirties and analyse how family of origin and neighbourhood segregation during adolescence, subsequent to arriving in Sweden, influence the gap in recorded crimes. For males, we are able to explain between half and three-quarters of the gap in crime by reference to parental socio-economic resources and neighbourhood segregation. For females, we can explain even more, sometimes the entire gap. In addition, we tentatively examine the role of co-nationality or culture by comparing the crime rates of randomly chosen pairs of individuals originating from the same country. We find only a small correlation in the crime of individuals who share the same origin, indicating that culture is unlikely to be a strong cause of crime among immigrants.
Since World War II, and particularly since the 1960s, there has been considerable migration from southern to northern Europe. As a result, a substantial second generation of young immigrants has emerged that has received considerable attention from criminologists in many countries over the last ten years. In this paper, the available literature is reviewed under three aspects: 1) Are immigrant youths subject to differential treatment by the police, prosecutors, or courts? 2) Are they disproportionately involved in crime and delinquency, compared to the native-born youths? 3) What are the factors that favor delinquent involvement among young immigrants? The evidence reviewed does not allow a satisfactory answer to these questions in light of existing methodological problems and inadequacy of data. It does suggest two things, however. The overrepresentation of young immigrants in the police statistics of many countries is not the result of discrimination against them; rather, some segments among the immigrant youths may be disproportionately involved in delinquent activities. The school system's ability to provide young immigrants with adequate educational opportunities and, concomitantly, success in the labor market seems to be most crucial in preventing delinquency among them.
Previous Swedish studies have found that second-generation immigrants participate in offending less than first-generation immigrants, which is a striking finding from an international perspective. The aim of this study is to critically investigate the idea that second-generation immigrants have lower rates of registered offending than first-generation immigrants. The population of the present study consists of all 4.4 million persons who were registered as living in Sweden at the end of 1996. These people were followed for 5 years. During this time, 280,000 persons were registered for 1.5 million offenses. As far as the participation in overall offending is concerned the previous results were reproduced. However, when focusing on the offending rates in different offense types, the first-generation immigrants have the highest risks of being registered for violent crimes and second-generation immigrants with no Swedish-born parents have the highest risks for property crimes. The pattern found is further discussed in relation to the risk of second-generation immigrants with no Swedish-born parent to develop a criminal career and thereby frames the problem of criminality in culture differences, immigration policy, and so on.
Immigrants generally have higher crime rates than do indigenous Swedes, particularly for violence and theft, and are likelier to be victims of violence. Both first- and second-generation immigrants have higher crime rates than indigenous Swedes, but second-generation immigrants have lower rates than first-generation immigrants-a finding contradicting results in other countries. These lower rates may be a consequence of Swedish social welfare policy. The offending pattern of second-generation immigrants is similar to the pattern of native Swedes. Groups with a high total crime rate in the first generation tend to have a relatively high total crime rate in the second generation and vice versa.