During a rally in Melbourne, Florida included in President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” speech was a tidbit about crime in Sweden. In support of his attempts to curb immigration in the United States and to deport those immigrants who have already made their way to the country illegally, the President referred to the issues caused in Sweden by their recent influx of refugees.
“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump said. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
The thought of many was that the President was mistakenly referring to a non-existent terrorist attack along the lines of the Bowling Green massacre. It was later explained by a White House spokesperson that President Trump was “referring to rising crime and recent incidents in general”. And in a tweet the President said the comment was based on a news item he had seen on Fox News.
Except not really.
Experts in immigration, crime and those who understand Swedish law argue that this argument by President Trump and others simply doesn’t hew to the actual facts. First, in 2013 Sweden adopted an expansive legal definition of “rape” which inflates the number of incidents. Second, Swedish women are more likely to report incidents of rape than other Western countries. Third, while the reported incidents of rape increased, other individual crimes decreased. Fourth, it is irresponsible to compare crime statistics from year-to-year because fluctuations may be due to any number of factors. Those who actually study these things scientifically use decades as units of measure. Finally, when viewed over this longer time period the crime statistics of Sweden are essentially flat over the past decade.
This is not to say that the influx of refugees in Sweden has not contributed to a small increase in crime. It is possible they have done so. But taken in the proper context and sticking to the actual facts, it’s hardly an epidemic.
Also, while crime statistics should not be compared between countries, if such a comparison were made the United States may not be delighted.
Follow @armchairmidrash on Twitter to get notifications of the latest posts and to continue the conversation.