Robberies against children and young people are becoming more common and more serious in Sweden, according to the police. Many victims also dare not report the crimes because they are afraid of retaliation.
Susanne Thonberg, a police inspector in Haninge, outside Stockholm, states that many youth robberies involve genuinely criminal elements, Sveriges radio reports.
“They don’t just rob, they bully their victims as well. They force them into the woods and pee on them,” Thornberg told the broadcaster.
In recent years, robberies committed against youths have increased in Sweden. In 2019, 2,500 robberies were reported against children under the age of 18. Haninge, a municipality that has been particularly plagued by such robberies, has seen a significant uptick in these types of crimes in the last 1.5 years.
After being robbed, many victims are traumatized. Following the traumatic event, they are often afraid to sleep alone and lose interest in things that they previously enjoyed.
Another issue that the police have noticed is that few youth victims dare to file a report and testify after a robbery.
“Many youths don’t want to contact, or cooperate with the police because they are afraid of reprisals. They get accused of snitching, so many don’t want to be involved,” said Thonberg.