Local people gather and mourn near to the site where a 12-year-old girl was killed after being hit by a stray bullet in a gang shooting at a petrol station car park in Norsborg, south of Stockholm, Sweden, Aug. 4, 2020. Sweden's Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg vowed on Tuesday to tackle gang-related crimes following the recent tragic death of a 12-year-old girl. According to Swedish Television, the shooting was part of an escalating conflict between gangs fighting over local drug markets. (Xinhua)
STOCKHOLM, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Sweden's Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg vowed on Tuesday to tackle gang-related crimes following the recent tragic death of a 12-year-old girl.
"We must gather strength against this. We are expanding the police with more employees and new tools. But if we do not stop the new recruitment of young people into the criminal environment, the harsh measures will not play such a big role," Damberg was quoted by Swedish Television (SVT) as saying.
A 12-year-old girl was killed on Sunday after being hit by a stray bullet in a gang shooting at a petrol station car park in Norsborg, south of the country's capital Stockholm. According to SVT, the shooting was part of an escalating conflict between gangs fighting over local drug markets.
"It's terribly tragic. You feel a great anger towards the criminal gangs who show no empathy because their shootings affect others. There are no words to describe the grief that it means for parents to lose their child in this way," said Damberg.
"The police are now making great efforts in the murder hunt. They are using all available resources to convict the perpetrators of this act," he added, calling on witnesses to contact the police.
Norsborg stands out as one of the country's most gang-ravaged areas, Manne Gerell, associate professor of criminology at Malmo University, told SVT. Gerell added that there are active criminal networks in Norsborg, with police issuing three warnings about shootings in the past 14 days alone.
Despite Swedish police tightening surveillance and toughening sentences for drugs and weapons-related crimes recently, bombings, shootings and gang-related crimes in Sweden have not decreased.
According to Swedish police statistics, 42 people were killed and 120 wounded in 334 reported shootings in 2019. In the first half of this year, 20 people have been killed and 56 wounded in 163 shootings.