Criminal Immigrants?

A few days ago I discussed the problem with an unproportionally high crime rate among Swedish immigrants in Swedish public television. It stroked me how common sense logics have been replaced by socialist ideas when it comes to law and order.

Recently the Crime Prevention Commission released a report showing that Swedish immigrants in general have a crime tendency more than 100 percent higher than the average, and some 300–400 percent above the average when it comes to more serious crimes such as murder and rape. Granted, these figures look at those charged with crimes rather than those convicted, but it is a fair assumption that there is a strong correlation between the two factors.

The high crime rate among immigrants is of course a very serious social problem, not least for the immigrants and native Swedes living in low-income communities with a high percent of immigrant residents. It should be discussed in an open and frank way in the public debate, instead of being monopolized by the racists. Unfortunately Swedish media simply toned down the issue by being politically correct.

A good example of this is how Aftonbladet, one of the largest Swedish newspapers, put a spin on the findings of the report by stating that "Immigrants are more often suspected of crimes than Swedes. But those born in Sweden commit most of the crimes". The logic behind that statement is that the relative rate of immigrants being charged with crimes is compared to the total, rather than relative, criminality of native Swedes, who encompass the vast majority of the population.

Swedish media and intellectuals, being strongly influenced by the ideas of the left, have a victim mentality. Criminals are therefore often viewed as the victims of social injustices, particularly if they belong to a minority group or have low incomes. Criminality is explained as a natural consequence of the inequality that exists in every society that not fully lives up to the socialist expectation of a fair society.

Every time crime levels go up in Sweden, whether among immigrants or native Swedes, ordinary people want the police to handle the problem. But the intellectuals, the media and socialist politicians are quick to explain that the main problem is the unfair economy. The only solution is thus more government handouts to the groups with a high percent of criminality.

These policies usually lead to increased problems with welfare dependence among the immigrants. What Swedish intellectuals and media are missing is that the main economical problem among Swedish immigrants is that very few have actual jobs and that the majority are living off the government. Among non-Scandinavian immigrants, only 47 percent of the adults are active in the working market. And this number includes those on government "activity programs" or on long-term sick leave.

But more importantly, crime is not simply an economical issue. The report from the Crime Prevention Commission clearly shows that some immigrant groups have a very low crime rate (such as those from East Asia), despite their relatively low incomes. Other groups have much higher crime rates, although they often are better educated than the average Swede.

Crime is in a sense related to culture. The Swedish people have a culture of abiding by the law. As a consequence of the soft version of socialism implemented in the country, few criminals are punished and sentences are very low for most crimes. For example, many of those who kill people by drunken driving get out of prison in one or two years, sometimes even lower than that.

The only crimes that are punished severely are those related to drugs and economic crimes, particularly when trying to avoid taxation. Given the low criminality among native Swedes and the soft attitude of government against criminality, it is not surprising that many immigrant groups are overrepresented in the crime statistics.

A straightforward solution to the problem with high criminality is to have the Swedish government fulfill its main purpose by protecting its citizens from crime. Criminals should be punished, regardless of ethnical origins. Sadly, this policy is strongly opposed by leftwing thinkers, who see welfare programs as the only solution. As socialist ideas prevail over common sense the problems remain.

December 31, 2005