Vulnerable Area
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Vulnerable Area

Vulnerable area (Swedish: Utsatt område) is a term applied by police in Sweden to areas with high crime rates and social exclusion.[1][2][3] In the December 2015 report, these areas numbered 53.[4] In the June 2017 report, these totalled 61. The increase is reported to be due to better reporting, not a changing situation.[5] The overall trend is that these areas are improving.[6]

All the areas are situated south of the town of Gävle and most are areas constructed during the Million Programme (MP), although there are towns north of Gävle having MP areas they do not experience the crime rate of some southern MP areas.[7]

In April 2019, the publication of the list by police was criticised by municipality politicians as it was stigmatizing and prevented investments. Police responded that they saw no reason to make the list a secret and that the list served the purpose of providing a uniform basis of evaluating districts across the country. Interior minister Morgan Johansson stated that the list will continue to be public information.[8]

In June 2019, an update was released by police and three vulnerable areas were reclassified risk areas, two vulnerable areas were removed from the list entirely and a previously unclassified area was added as a vulnerable area. Therefore the total number of categorized areas decreased from 61 in the 2017 report to 60 in the 2019 update.[9]

Work on improving the areas requires cooperation with several parties like local landlords and organisations, but fear of gentrification may cause problems.[10]

In November 2020, Gothenburg municipality announced they would dedicate 11 billion Swedish Krona (about 1 billion euro) towards regenerating the six especially vulnerable areas in the Gothenburg area.[11]


A vulnerable area is described as being geographically defined and having a low socioeconomic status and criminals negatively affecting society. The three categories of vulnerable area are divided according to severity: vulnerable areas, risk areas and especially vulnerable areas.[12]

These areas are sometimes called no-go zones, as emergency services such as fire engines and ambulances cannot drive into these areas during a tense situation without a police escort as they will be attacked by criminal gangs.[3]

The population in these areas have higher rates of unemployment: whereas about 67% of the general population is in employment, the proportion in vulnerable areas is about 49%.[13]

Most stores and shops are small and run by locals, with few major chains.[14]

According to a 2017 report by Swedish Defence University, of those who have travelled from Sweden to conflict zones to participate in terrorist activities, 70% were residents in vulnerable areas.[15]

According to a 2018 report by Swedish Television, the overall trend is that these areas are improving. Employment rates, income and school results are generally rising.[6]

Vulnerable areas have a low participation in elections: for instance in the Gårdsten district in Gothenburg only a third voted in the 2014 election. Journalists who visited Gårdsten to interview locals on why they didn't vote struggled to complete their task, as many locals they encountered spoke neither Swedish nor English.[16]

By 2018 gang violence, which had long been a feature of vulnerable areas, had begun to spill out into the wider society: hospital staff reported armed confrontations in emergency rooms and school authorities reported that threats and weapons had become commonplace.[17]

Vulnerable area

An area in the vulnerable category is characterised by a low socioeconomic status; and criminals have a negative impact on society and public institutions. Criminals may use direct threats and blackmail or indirect methods such as public displays of violence which place bystanders at risk of injury or narcotics openly traded in public spaces. The effect of their activities is that inhabitants experience lower levels of security, which may make them less willing to participate or witness in judicial proceedings against criminals.[18]

Especially vulnerable area

Inhabitants of these areas suffer a potential threat from criminals in the area, which has led to an overall disinclination to participate in judicial proceedings against criminals. In especially vulnerable areas there are systematic threats and violence against witnesses and victims or complainants. These circumstances make it very difficult or impossible for police organisations to complete their mission of law enforcement.[18] In December 2015 these areas numbered 15.[7] In June 2017 theis had increased to 23 as some areas were reclassified primarily due to more refined information, not due to a changed situation.[5][19]

An especially vulnerable area also experience:[18]

  • Parallel society structures exercising their own form of justice and control[3]
  • Extremism such as systematic violations of freedom of religion or fundamentalism which circumscribe rights and freedoms of the population. According to Magnus Ranstorp in 2017, Salafi jihadism is present in some of these areas.[20] In the especially vulnerable areas there are individuals among the radical Islamic community who contribute to recruitment and financing of Islamic terrorism. These individuals have access to youth via lectures, study groups or as an imam. Some mosques located in or close to these areas may be a contributing factor to radicalisation.[21]
  • inhabitants travelling to conflict areas to participate in combat
  • a high concentration of criminals.

Employment levels in February 2017 were around 47%.[13] Many inhabitants are immigrants or children of immigrants;[13] in this category the proportion of immigrants in the district is around 50-60%.[22]

In its 2017, police stated that welfare fraud was prevalent in these areas, where benefits administered by Swedish Public Employment Service and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency were targeted.[23] Police identified that resident registry figures were manipulated, for instance 2% of all apartments in Rinkeby have between 10-30 persons registered as residents, which leads to an inflated number of people receiving welfare benefits.[23]

Education level in especially vulnerable areas

Education levels are lower than the general population in these areas, where 40% of the population has not completed primary education.[13][24] According to BRÅ statistics, persons with only primary education (Swedish: förgymnasial utbildning) are 5.7 times more likely to be registered for crime compared to persons with post secondary education (Swedish: eftergymnasial utbildning) [24] On average in 2017, less than half of 15-year-olds in Gothenburg especially vulnerable areas qualified for secondary education. In district Bergsjön, 69.8% of 15-year-olds of Bergsjöskolan left primary education without achieving grades in numeracy and literacy to enter secondary education, the number being 67.3% for the Sjumilaskolan school of Biskopsgården district in Gothenburg compared to the national average of 17.5%.[25] The results were lower compared to five years earlier and interpreted as a worsening trend by researcher Anders Trumberg at Örebro university.[25] A high share of preschool staff in vulnerable areas have lacking Swedish language skills.[26]

Risk area

A risk area fulfills all criteria for a vulnerable area but do not qualify in all the criteria for an especially vulnerable area.[18] In December 2015 these areas numbered 6.[7]


According to the national operations section (sv: Nationella operativa avdelningen) the districts and their classification are:[27][28]

 V  Vulnerable
 R  Risk area
 E  Especially vulnerable area
City/Town District 2015[7] 2017[29] 2019[9]
Borås Hässleholmen/Hulta  R   E   E 
Norrby  E   E 
Borlänge Tjärna Ängar  R   R   R 
Eskilstuna Fröslunda  V   V   V 
Lagersberg  V   V   V 
Skiftinge  V   V 
Falkenberg Falkagård  V 
Gothenburg Hisings Backa  V   V   V 
Rannebergen  V   V   V 
Biskopsgården  E   E   E 
Bergsjön  E   E   E 
Gårdsten  E   E   R 
Hammarkullen  E   E   E 
Hjällbo  E   E   E 
Lövgärdet  E   E   E 
Tynnered/Grevegården/Opaltorget  V   E   E 
Halmstad Andersberg  V   V   V 
Helsingborg Adolfsberg/Dalhem/Drottninghög  R   R   R 
Söder  R   R 
Jönköping Råslätt  V   V   V 
Kristianstad Charlottesborg  V   V   V 
Gamlegården  V   V   V 
Landskrona Koppargården/Karlslund  V   E   E 
Linköping Skäggetorp  E   E   E 
Malmö Holma/Kroksbäck/Bellevuegården  V   R   R 
Nydala/Hermodsdal/Lindängen  E   E 
Rosengård south of Amiralsgatan  E   E   E 
Södra Sofielund (Seved)  E   E   E 
Norrköping Hageby  V   V 
Klockaretorpet  V   V 
Navestad  V   V 
Stockholm Alby  R   E   E 
Brandbergen  V   V   V 
Bredäng  V   V   V 
Edsberg  V   V   V 
Finnsta  V   V   V 
Fittja  R   E   E 
Fornhöjden  V   V   R 
Hagsätra/Rågsved  V   V   V 
Hallunda/Norsborg  E   E   E 
Hässelby/Vällingby  V   V   V 
Hovsjö  V   V   R 
Husby  E   E   E 
Jordbro  V   V 
Rinkeby/Tensta  E   E   E 
Rissne/Hallonbergen  V   V   R 
Ronna/Geneta/Lina  E   E   E 
Sångvägen  V   V   V 
Skogås  V   V   V 
Smedby  V   V 
Storvreten  V 
Termovägen  V   V   V 
Tureberg  R   R   R 
Vårby  V   V 
Älvsjö/Solberga  V   V   V 
Östberga  V   V   V 
Trollhättan Kronogården  V   V   V 


 V   V   V 
Gottsunda  E   E 
Västerås Bäckby  V   V   V 
Växjö Araby  E   E   E 
Örebro Oxhagen/Varberga  R   R   R 
Vivalla  E   E   E 
Number of vulnerable areas (excluding E & R):  V  31 32 28
Number of Risk areas:  R  7 6 10
Number of especially vulnerable areas:  E  15 23 22
Totals: 53 61 60

See also


  1. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Police add eight new "especially vulnerable" areas in Sweden - Sweden's "particularly vulnerable areas" - Radio Sweden". Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Swedish police name dozens of "vulnerable areas"--but are they "no-go zones"?". Newsweek. 2017-06-21. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c NRK. "Svensk politi: - Vi er i ferd med å miste kontrollen". NRK (in Norwegian). Retrieved .
  4. ^ Utsatta områden - sociala risker, kollektiv förmåga och oönskade händelser. Police in Sweden - Nationella Operativa Avdelningen - December 2015. p. 4.
  5. ^ a b Polisen. "Polisens rapport om utsatta områden". (in Swedish). Retrieved . Antalet områden som bedöms som särskilt utsatta är fler i den här rapporten jämfört med den förra rapporten. - Det beror främst på att vi nu har en fördjupad kunskap om problematiken i dessa områden, snarare än att läget har försämrats sedan förra året, säger Linda Staaf, underrättelsechef på nationella operativa avdelningen som ansvarar för att sammanställa rapporten.
  6. ^ a b "Läget bättre i utsatta områden". SVT. 2018-06-10. Fler jobbar, inkomsterna är högre, bidragen lägre och färre är helt utanför systemen. /../ Sedan 1997 har exempelvis andelen förvärvsarbetande bland de utrikes födda i stadsdelen Rinkeby ökat från 29 procent till 49 procent 2015. Andelen öppet arbetslösa har samtidigt gått ner, från 18 procent till 15 procent.
  7. ^ a b c d Utsatta områden - sociala risker, kollektiv förmåga och oönskade händelser (PDF). Police in Sweden - Nationella Operativa Avdelningen - December 2015. pp. 21, 29. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2016.
  8. ^ Radio, Sveriges. ""Finns inget skäl att försöka hemlighålla" - Nyheter (Ekot)". (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b Kriminell påverkan i lokalsamhället - En lägesbild för utvecklingen i utsatta områden (PDF). Swedish Police Authority. June 2019. pp. 6, 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2019.
  10. ^ Löfgren, Emma (7 June 2017). "No-go zone? Here's how one of Sweden's roughest areas edged out its drug gangs". The Local.
  11. ^ Netskar, Sofia (2020-11-18). "Satsningen: Elva miljarder kronor till särskilt utsatta områden i Göteborg". SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  12. ^ Utsatta områden - sociala risker, kollektiv förmåga och oönskade händelser (PDF). Police in Sweden - Nationella Operativa Avdelningen - December 2015. pp. 13-14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d "Svensk politi skulle ta tilbake kontrollen over lovløse områder. To år senere er situasjonen blitt enda verre". Aftenposten (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  14. ^ Roden, Lee (30 November 2017). "Working on the front line in Stockholm's vulnerable suburbs". The Local.
  15. ^ "Terrorresenärer ofta från utsatta områden - Nyheter (Ekot)" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "Här struntar varannan i valet". Hem & Hyra (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Anderson, Ellen Barry and Christina. "Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden's Middle Class". Retrieved .
  18. ^ a b c d Utsatta områden - sociala risker, kollektiv förmåga och oönskade händelser (PDF) (in Swedish). Police in Sweden - Nationella Operativa Avdelningen - December 2015. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2016.
  19. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Voices from a new "vulnerable area" - Radio Sweden". Retrieved .
  20. ^ Radio, Sveriges. ""De farligaste terrorresenärerna är kvar" - Nyheter (Ekot)". Retrieved .
  21. ^ Myndighetsgemensam lägesbild om organiserad brottslighet 2018-2019 / Dnr:A495.196/2017 (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Polismyndigheten. 2017. p. 13. Enligt Polismyndigheten har en stor del av terrorresenärerna koppling till utsatta områden. I de särskilt utsatta områdena finns ett antal personer inom den radikala islamistiska miljön. Dessa bidrar till rekrytering och finansiering av terrorism. Vissa av personerna har kontakt med ungdomar genom till exempel föreläsningar, studiecirklar eller som imam. Vissa moskéer, som ligger i eller i närheten av utsatta områden, är med stor sannolikhet en viktig faktor vad gäller radikalisering.
  22. ^ Myndighetsgemensam lägesbild om organiserad brottslighet 2018-2019 / Dnr:A495.196/2017 (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Polismyndigheten. 2017. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2018. Diagram 15
  23. ^ a b Myndighetsgemensam lägesbild om organiserad brottslighet 2018-2019 / Dnr:A495.196/2017 (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Polismyndigheten. 2017. pp. 13-14, Diagram 4. Uppgifter gör gällande att det i de särskilt utsatta områdena förekommer ett otillbörligt utnyttjande av välfärdssystemet. Det gäller förmåner som administreras av såväl Försäkringskassan som Arbetsförmedlingen. Ett exempel är att folkbokföringsuppgifter manipuleras för att man ska kunna tillskansa sig ersättning som man inte har rätt till.
  24. ^ a b "Myndighetsgemensam lägesbild om organiserad brottslighet 2018-2019 / Dnr:A495.196/2017" (PDF). Swedish Police Authority. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2018. Under hösten 2015 skedde en stor ökning av antalet asylsökande till Sverige. Polismyndigheten bedömer att majoritetio av de asylsökande hade tagit sig till Sverige med hjälp av människosmugglare. Smugglingspaketen till Sverige bedöms kostar flera hundra tusen kronor per person.[...] Utnyttjande av personer i beroendeställningUnder hösten 2015 skedde en stor ökning av antalet asyl-sökande till Sverige. Asylsökande befinner sig ofta i en utsattsituation. De har bristande språkkunskaper och kännedomom hur det svenska samhället fungerar, vilket kan utnyttjas i brottsligt syfte. Polisen bedömer att majoriteten av de som söker asyl i Sverige bedöms ha tagit sig hit med hjälp av människosmugglare. Enligt polisen rör det sig i stort sett uteslutande om landsmän som smugglar landsmän. Många som har betalat för att ta sig till Sverige har betydande skulder till människosmugglarna och dessa skulder måste betalas av på något sätt
  25. ^ a b "Över hälften klarar inte skolan i utsatta områden". Göteborgs-Posten (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Obligatorisk språkförskola väcker många frågor". (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  27. ^ Utsatta områden - sociala risker, kollektiv förmåga och oönskade händelser (PDF) (in Swedish). Police in Sweden - Nationella Operativa Avdelningen - December 2015. p. 29. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2016.
  28. ^ Utsatta områden - Social ordning, kriminell struktur och utmaningar för polisen / Dnr HD 44/14A203.023/2016 (PDF) (in Swedish). Police in Sweden - Nationella operativa avdelningen - Underrättelseenheten. June 2017. p. 41. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ Utsatta områden - Social ordning, kriminell struktur och utmaningar för polisen Dnr: HD 44/14 A203.023/2016 (PDF). Swedish Police Authority - Nationella operativa avdelningen Underrättelseenheten. June 2017. p. 41. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2018.

Further reading

  • Söderström, Maria; Ahlin, Sofie (29 June 2018). "Utvecklingen i socialt utsatta områden i urban miljö 2006-2017" [Developments in the socially disadvantaged areas in the urban environment 2006-2017: A report on vulnerability, insecurity and trust based on the National Security Survey] (PDF). Brottsförebyggande rådet (Brå). Statistics based on crime types. Regional variations: Vulnerable regions (in Swedish). Stockholm: [Crime Prevention Council]. 2018 (9). ISSN 1100-6676. URN:NBN:SE:BRA-769. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2021. Retrieved 2021.

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