Murder and manslaughter

Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2017, 113 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. The average of lethal violence for the last ten years is 92 cases per year

Lethal violence

Confirmed cases of lethal violence, of which lethal violence against men or women¹, 2008 – 2017. (Reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death). Source: Confirmed cases of lethal violence (Brå)

1.) Gender breakdown is reported for the confirmed cases of lethal violence since 2011. In one of the cases in 2012, the victim's gender could not be established.

In 2017, 113 cases of lethal violence were confirmed² in Sweden. This can be seen from the statistic regarding confirmed cases of lethal violence. This is an increase by 7 cases, as compared with 2016. The number of cases in 2017 marks the highest level of confirmed cases of lethal violence in the time period of 2002-2017.

In 2017, the victim was a woman in 27 cases (24 per cent) and a man in 86 cases (76 per cent). As compared with 2016, the share of women has fallen by 3 percentage points. Meanwhile, the share of men has increased by 3 percentage points.

Since 2002, when Brå started producing the statistics, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has fluctuated between 68 and 113 cases. Up until 2014, the development of the number of cases was marked by an overall downward trend with relatively large variations from year to year. In the last three years (2015-2017), the number of cases has remained at a higher level than previous years, thereby breaking the downward trend.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.12 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, a higher level than in 2016 (1, 07). The number of women decreased from 0.59 to 0.54, whilst the number of men increased from 1.55 to 1.69 (number of victims per 100,000 inhabitants).

Use of firearms

A firearm was used in 35 per cent of the observed cases of lethal violence in 2017; this is a higher percentage than in 2016 (28%). This equals an increase by 7 percentage points, (from 30 to 40 cases). Since 2011, when the use of firearms was first introduced in the statistics, the number of cases of lethal violence with the use of a firearm has more than doubled, from 17 to 40 cases.

In the cases where a firearm was used, the victim was a man in 98 per cent of the cases (39 cases), and only in 2 per cent (1 case) was the victim a woman. The gender ratio for victims in the cases where a firearm was used has remained at the same level during the period 2011-2017.

Regional breakdown

The majority (75 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2017 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Syd. This level has fluctuated between 68 and 75 per cent during the years 2010-2017. The largest increase was seen in the Stockholm region, where the number of cases nearly doubled from 26 cases in 2016 to 50 cases in 2017. The most significant decrease is seen in the Syd region, where the numbers decreased almost by half, from 30 to 17 cases (-13 cases). The changes are not as significant in the other regions, for example the number of cases in the Väst region were almost at the same level as 2016 (+1 case).

2) The figures above come from Brå's special study of lethal violence which only includes reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death. This is because the statistic regarding reported offences is misleading where lethal violence is concerned, since it shows all reported incidents with a lethal outcome where there initially was reason to investigate whether lethal violence may have been used. Following investigation, many of these incidents are seen to involve something other than lethal violence, for example suicide, accident, or natural death. It also occurs that several police reports are prepared for a single case of suspected lethal violence, which means that the statistic contains repeats. Moreover, attempts, preparation, and conspiracy to commit murder or manslaughter are erroneously registered as completed murder or manslaughter