In Oskarshamn, a town of about 17,500 people on Sweden’s Baltic Sea coast, is promising to offer for the first time armed police to patrol its jogging and walking paths. Oskarshamn is a port where not only cruise ships call, but is also home to approximately 1,200 refugees, most of whom came from the Middle East over the last two years. Police Inspector Peter Karlsson said that Swedes are interested in running and walking but because of their impressions of worldwide news, they feel it is not safe to be outdoors at night.

According to Inspector Karlsson, armed officers will be outside during regular paid working hours while the jogging police officers will simultaneously be on their training rounds. The public is welcome to join the jogging officers, he said. "We adjust the pace entirely to those who come," said Karlsson. He promised that officers will not set an elite pace on the jogging trails. 

Each officer will be fitted with a vest that will allow them to carry their baton, handcuffs, and service weapons. "We have tried and found a vest that can fix the equipment and that works to run in.” Oskarshamn’s Crime Prevention Council has given the thumbs up to the additional security for local citizens.

In 2015, tensions began to grow in Oskarshamn and elsewhere in Sweden between natives and immigrants. Locals complained that their tax rates were rising in order to meet the needs of refugees who were brought to Oskarshamn. Witnesses saw unknown persons throwing rocks and setting fires at housing set aside for refugees. 

In 2016, police released a report that showed that Sweden is tops in the European Union for physical and sexual violence, sexual harassment, and stalking directed at women. The report said unequivocally that “foreign men” and “asylum-seeker boys” commit the vast majority of these crimes. As to sexual assaults at public swimming pools, police noted that in four out of five cases, the perpetrators were “unaccompanied refugee children.” 

In May 2016, Omar Ali Abdalsalam was sentenced to life in prison and deportation for strangling his girlfriend to death in Oskarshamn, in December 2015. He had previous convictions for violence against women. However, while he admitted that he had been violent to his girlfriend, he denied any intent to kill. Abdalsalam was also sentenced to pay damages of $39,000 to the woman's family.

Female genital mutilation is a problem among Muslim women. According to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), 38,000 women in Sweden may have been subjected to unwarranted practice. 

The danger posed by unvetted immigration became clear in 2016 in Sweden. Karim Ageri, an Algerian male who was admitted to the country as an alleged minor, faced charges for slashing the face of a 16-year-old girl who refused to have sex with him. In 2015, the victim and another teenage girl visited a asylum for "unaccompanied refugee children" in the Stockholm metropolitan area. Ageri, who claimed to be 16 years old, groped one of the girls, who then escaped through a window. Ageri chased her and then slashed her face twice with a knife. When a prosecutor argued that Ageri was at least 21 years old, and should therefore be tried as an adult and thus deportable, the Municipal Court disagreed. Ageri was sentenced instead to juvenile detention. 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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