The crime statistics given in the following article are no surprise to anyone who has been following the general trends in the major cities of Western Europe. Norway is unusual, however, in that it is willing to collect and make public the ethnicity of perpetrators — France and Sweden, for example, don’t allow such forms of data collection.
What was dismaying in the article was the fact that a third of the population of Oslo is now made up of people with a “migration background”. Norway has put the brakes on immigration in the last few years, yet it seems that the capital city is rapidly approaching London, Brussels, and Paris in its level of cultural enrichment.
Many thanks to Tania Groth for translating this piece from Norway’s commercial TV channel TV 2:
Immigrants behind three out of four violent crimes
TV 2 has gone through all the verdicts in which a person was convicted of serious bodily injury and gross bodily harm in Oslo, from the beginning of 2018 until today.
A total of 140 people have been sentenced in the past year.
Among the verdicts we find people who have carried out stabbings, beatings and abuse.
We also find victims who have suffered lifelong injuries, deep cuts and cranial fractures. It has been revealed that in one third of the verdicts either a knife, glass or bottle was used.
More than two out of three are immigrants
There is a large majority of men among the convicted. The convictions furthermore show that immigrants are over-represented.
TV 2’s investigation shows that of the 140 perpetrators, 70% were of immigrant background.
In other words, more than two out of three violent incidents in Oslo were carried out by immigrants. This is despite the fact that, according to Statistics Norway, immigrants make up 33 per cent of Oslo’s population.
An immigrant is classified as a person who has immigrated to Norway, or who was born in Norway, but who has a mother and father who were both born abroad.
Although the figure seems high, the violence researcher Ragnhild Bjørnebekk is not surprised. She believes that one of the reasons is that many come from cultures where violence is more prevalent.
“They are more vulnerable; they have experienced more trauma. Some of them come from violent cultures, and they bring it with them. And then some of them are not Norwegian citizens, who come from other countries and only stay here for a few months,” says Bjørnebekk.
The parliamentary representative and Oslo citizen Himanshu Gulati (FRP) points the finger at Oslo City Council, and believes that City Councilor Raymond Johansen and the City Council’s immigration policy are to blame for the high proportion of immigrants among the convicted.
“He must understand that the policy he advances has real-life consequences. If you want to maintain high immigration to Oslo, then it will not become easier to handle the problems we are now seeing.”
With all due respect for Gulati, this is just nonsense, says Raymond Johansen (Ap) to TV 2.
“We respond to inquiries from the state. It is the Directorate of Integration and Diversity that approaches Oslo and asks us to accept refugees.”
He further states that it is not certain that the integration policy is the cause of the high figure, but believes one must go deeper into the statistics to unmask the complete answer.
“We have integration challenges in Norway, but we must look at more than the crime statistics; we have to look at other statistics as well. For example, immigrant girls do well in higher education. There we can turn it around and ask why integration in Norway is going so well,” says Johansen.
Explosive increase in knife use
In the verdicts one may read that there is extensive use of knives. Oslo has recently seen a strong increase in knife-related violent incidents in particular.
On the night before Friday it happened again.
During the last few weeks there have been several stabbings in the capital, among them when a man in his 50s was found with knife wounds in a stairwell in Torshov.
Pure luck that it hasn’t ended in murder
The police chief of Oslo, Hans Sverre Sjøvold, told TV 2 earlier that he is very concerned about the development. In several of the cases he believes it is only luck that the perpetrators have not become killers.
“We must emphasize that in some cases it is pure luck that we have not ended up with a homicide. The threshold for using a knife is low. We also see that many of those we are dealing with out there have very little respect for the police. This also worries me. I think there has been a change lately,” says Sjøvold to TV 2.
The chief of police believes it is often a matter of rootless youth struggling at school, and confirms that there is an over-representation of immigrant youth.
“There is a lot of poverty and cramped living. We notice this especially in Oslo. For many young people, it is tough growing up. Many of them are Norwegian citizens. They were born here,” says Sjøvold.
Not all verdicts are enforceable, and several have been submitted to the Court of Appeal.