A total of 148 people were treated for gunshot wounds in Sweden in 2018, 26 more than in 2017, the Swedish National Board of Health reported. These statistics do not include fatal shooting incidents or instant deaths, the board stressed.
This marks a 20-percent increase compared with the previous year and more than double the number recorded in 2012.
Commenting on the growing trend, Anders Östlund, chief physician of trauma and emergency surgery at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, stressed that this treatment is “somewhat special”.
“You get a very short warning, and they require quite a large amount of resources. For the most part, these patients end up in an intensive care unit and perhaps in an operating room fairly immediately,” Östlund told Swedish Radio.
Lennart Andersson, head of the Karolinska University trauma centre, stressed that not every victim makes it to the hospital, as many die on the spot or en route.
“These are more violent acts of aggression,” he said. “We can get an alarm, but they never come because they are already dead on the spot. This is new.”
The casualties keep rising in lockstep with the number of fatal shootings in Sweden. Between January and July, there were 182 shootings in Sweden, claiming 25 lives. This is an increase compared with the same period last year: then, the figure was “only” 164 shootings.
In 2018, over 800 firearms were seized and about 300 people arrested for suspected serious or firearms offences, prompting Stockholm police expert Gunnar Appelgren to draw a comparison with a “state of war”, SVT reported.
At the same time, explosions are also becoming increasingly commonplace in Sweden. Between January and July this year, 120 blasts occurred in Sweden. Compared with 83 in 2017, marking a 45 percent increase, SVT reported.
However, despite marked spikes in shootings and explosions, stabbings remain the most common form of deadly violence. Between 2011 and 2017, 267 people were stabbed to death in Sweden, compared to 190 people who were shot using firearms.