Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Does crime fiction reflect reality?

I like several British and Scandinavian TV crime series. Recently, I started wondering if (their) crime fiction reflects reality? Based on my initial research, the answer seems clear: yes. Even in the Netherlands, there is a correlation: Baantjer (crime in Amsterdam), Penoza (drugs crime in Brabant).

Statistics show that the “homicide rate in the UK was 1.2 per 100,000 in 2016, the third highest rate in Western Europe, after Belgium and France” (Wiki). Total crime in Sweden ranks even higher than the UK: “While the ‘most criminal’ nation, Sweden, has an index figure of 49.35.” (source)

A Quora comment refers to immigration: “Because we have allowed our streets to be flooded with criminals from countries who think stabbing someone is perfectly acceptable.” Telegraph-2023: “Sweden has become a gangster’s paradise – and a case study in how not to integrate migrants”.

The other high crime countries, as mentioned above, also have immigration issues and crime related books and TV series: Belgium (eg, Professor T., one of my favourites), and France (eg, Candice Renoir, one of my favourites). Italy used to be prominent in mafia-crime (eg, the Godfather).

The 2023 Telegraph article makes an interesting comment: a case study in how not to integrate migrants. Is there a proper way to integrate immigrants, as demonstrated by low crime rates?

The common European immigrant scenario looked like this:

  1. high influx from former overseas colonies (eg, Belgium, France, Netherlands, UK);
  2. centralized cost-efficient housing in high-rise apartment buildings (eg, banlieue in France);
  3. limited or no follow-up w.r.t. jobs for immigrants;
  4. increasing immigrant reliance on social benefits;
  5. high social inequality resulting in ever-increasing crime;
  6. demolition of tower blocks and relocation of immigrants (eg, Bijlmermeer in Netherlands).

Sweden had few overseas colonies and thus few immigrants. The Swedish influx probably relates to refugees. Apart from #1 above, the common refugee scenario is similar to the immigrant scenario. The main difference is Politics, like the infamous 2015 phrase “Wir schaffen das” in Germany.

The comedy series Lilyhammer is about an American gangster, who relocates to Norway following a Witness Protection Program. This show is highly entertaining following the clash between the American crime and the (rather absurd) Scandinavian culture of political correctness.

Europe learned from its mistakes: the high influx of 2022 Ukrainian refugees shows our lessons learned: no centralized location, local jobs. Explanations for the successful Ukrainian integration are: identity (ie, white), religion (ie, Christian), expected return, and no victim role that “justifies” crime.

However, the Ukrainian refugees in Europe are mostly women and children because the Ukrainian men defend their country against the 2022 invasion by Russia. Their fight is Europe’s first line of defence. Deep down, Europe knows (very well) that helping Ukraine is about helping ourselves.

Hence, I’m not sure if there is a proper way for integrating immigrants, including low crime rates.

Is It A Crime? (1986) by Sade
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-song

Is it a crime?
Is it a crime?
That I still want you
And I want you to want me, too

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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