A survey by the Norwegian channel TV2 spanning from the beginning of 2018 until today has reviewed knife attacks, beatings and other instances of serious abuse, whose victims have suffered lifelong injuries, such as deep cuts and skull fractures.
According to TV2, over two-thirds or nearly 70 percent of the crimes were committed by immigrants, signalling a serious over-representation. According to Statistics Norway, immigrants make up about 33 percent of Oslo's population.
The survey also found a rise in the use of knives by attackers in the capital. Oslo has recently seen a marked increase in knife-related incidents, TV2 reported.
Oslo Police Chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold voiced his concern over this development, stressing that the threshold for using a knife is very low, as is respect for police. Sjøvold admitted that immigrant youth struggling at school are over-represented and attributed this to "poverty and crampedness", which makes it "tough to grow up".
Violence researcher Ragnhild Bjørnebekk is not surprised at the extremely high figure. According to Bjørnebekk, one of the reasons for the over-representation is that the perpetrators come from cultures where violence is far more prevalent.
"They are more vulnerable, they have experienced more trauma. Some of them come from violent cultures, and they take it along with them. Also, there are those who are not Oslo residents, who just come from other countries and only stay here for a few months," Bjørnebekk explained.
MP Himanshi Gulati of the right-wing Progress Party argued that the blame rests with the Oslo City Council and its Labour Mayor Raymond Johansen's immigration policy.
"He must understand that the policy he leads is having consequences. If you want to maintain high immigration to Oslo, then it would be easier to handle the problems we are now seeing," Gulati said.
Johansen admitted that Norway has challenges to accept, but rejected the notion that the flawed integration policy is to blame. Johansen urged his detractors to look at other statistics. "For instance, immigrant girls do well in higher education," he noted.
Norway's immigrant population exceeds 880,00 people, accounting for about 17 percent of the country's total population (up from only 4.2 percent in 1992). Historically, migrants' most common countries of origin were Sweden, Poland and Germany. In recent years, though, Somalia, Eritrea, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan have contributed the most.