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Wolves and Sheepdogs: On Migration, Ethnicity Relations and Gang-Police Interaction in Sweden (From Street Gangs, Migration and Ethnicity, P 241-254, 2008, Frank van Gemert, Dana Peterson, and Inger-Lise Lien, eds. -- See NCJ-225264)

NCJ Number
Micael Bjork
Date Published
14 pages
This chapter discusses gangs, migration, and ethnicity from the perspective of the experience of the police in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The police in Gothenburg have found unwillingness among Muslim immigrants in the city to speak to the police and report crime. This is due not only to fear of retaliation from fellow Muslims but also to their experience of racism and ineffective responses by police. This suggests that effective policing within Muslim neighborhoods should rely more on the tenets and practices of community policing, which calls for the police to engage in a broad engagement with the community apart from the investigation of particular crimes known to the police and the routine patrolling of neighborhoods. Police officers whose beat encompasses Muslim neighborhoods must be trained in the cultural/religious values of Islam and how this relates to their attitudes toward police, who represent the mainstream culture. Police must interact with the leaders of civic associations, businesses, and mosques, as well as social workers involved with community problems in order to gain the trust of community members. Only then will police be viewed as guardians of community safety and advocates for addressing issues that undermine the quality of life in Muslim neighborhoods. This chapter notes the following issues that require further research regarding policing in Muslim neighborhoods: the distinction between Muslim culture and kinship in conjunction with crime; the interaction between diaspora ethnicity and criminal subculture; and the consequences, assessment, and practice of gang-unit policing in disadvantaged neighborhoods. 44 references