Police: Copenhagen Swept by 'Very Worrying' Wave of Stabbings
While admitting that the situation is unsustainable, the police noted that such spikes related to conflicts in criminal environments tend to "come in waves."
The Danish capital of Copenhagen has been hit by a wave of street stabbings, the most recent of which occurred this week when a 19-year-old was knifed by a 17-year-old.
A total of 16 people have been stabbed since December. Knud Hvass, deputy police inspector at Copenhagen Police, said that stabbings as such are "not unusual," yet called their frequency alarming.
"When there are so many stabbings within such a short period of time, it is very worrying. This is also why we take it very seriously," Hvass told Danish media, calling the situation "unsustainable."
Most of the knife attacks were centered around the Norrebro quarter, parts of which are present in Denmark’s ghetto list of neighborhoods characterized by a high percentage of immigrants, unemployment and crime.
According to the police, the investigation is in full swing, which is why they were very terse about the details, only saying that the increase was "no coincidence" and that at least some of the stabbings were "connected."
"We are talking about a group of younger people who have had a controversy, and it has now developed into a series of stabbings," Kvass told Danish media. At the same time he stressed that the disputes are not related to "traditional gang environments."
A special search zone was introduced in late December in parts Copenhagen after several stabbings. In the area, the police can search people and vehicles without any concrete suspicion. At the beginning of January, its duration was prolonged as the stabbings continued. According to the Copenhagen Police, a total of 160 people have been searched, resulting in seven charges for illegal weapons possession and 18 seized knives or other stabbing weapons.
However, even while the situation is currently tense, it is not unusual. Jens Moller, former deputy police inspector and head of homicide at the Copenhagen Police, called it "history repeating," adding that confrontations between groups "come in waves." He cited the winter of 2021, when a prolonged conflict between professional criminal milieus took place in the Danish capital. According to Moller, such conflicts tend to end with either the police apprehending the culprits or the gangs making peace.
12 December 2022, 08:03 GMT
Meanwhile, similar problems have plagued Stockholm, the capital of neighboring Sweden, which has also become the country’s main arena for gang clashes. Around a dozen acts of violence took place in the region between Christmas and the end of the first week of the new year, including three murders and several attempted murders. In 2022, Sweden saw a record increase in firearm violence, with the police noting that criminals tend to "shoot to kill."
In late December, the Swedish government launched inquiries into Danish-style stop-and-search zones and a new system of anonymous witnesses in what Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson called "the biggest offensive against organized crime in modern times."