Just exactly how dangerous is Malmö?
July 11, 2017 2:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning on visiting Malmö, Sweden for a few days in August. I've already booked my accommodations (just outside of the city centre). I've come across so many articles out there about how violent and all the gangs in the city. Is it actually as dangerous as it sounds? Am I buying into the fake news type, what's the deal with Malmö?

My friend who lives in Sweden is assuring me that I shouldn't be too worried, but I'm not sure what to think!! I do live in a city that's been called the murder capital of Canada and I've never, ever felt unsafe, so I can't explain why I'm worried about staying in Malmö.

The place I'm staying at is relatively close to Rosengard, which I've read the worst things about. I feel like a dummy for not properly researching Malmö before I booked this place, I sort of assumed it was a relatively safe city. Am I just over-reacting?
posted by modesty.blaise to Travel & Transportation around Malmö, Sweden (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Living in Copenhagen and taking the train just a couple of stops into Malmø is something I do occasionally on weekends. It is a very nice small town, and I have never, not for one moment, ever felt that it was unsafe (and basically Scandinavia as a whole is not really a place you feel unsafe to the extent that you can feel this in other major cities/countries). So, yes, I feel you are overreacting - come and have a great time, and, if you have time, just jump on the train and explore Copenhagen :)
posted by alchemist at 2:05 AM on July 11, 2017 [10 favorites]

That Malmö, Sweden is dangerous because of immigrants is an American Right-Wing/Alt-Right talking point that is not based on fact. Don't believe their propaganda and have a great time.
posted by saucysault at 2:09 AM on July 11, 2017 [49 favorites]

Yes. I have spent many many hours of my life traveling to Malmö for work. It is a lovely little city and extremely safe. I have stumbled back to my hotel on many an evening as a lone woman in the wee hours and never had a problem. I once got into an argument with a taxi driver about fares, but that is pretty much as much danger as I have experienced in Malmö. Have fun!
posted by frumiousb at 2:28 AM on July 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

(I mean-- yes, you are overreacting.)
posted by frumiousb at 2:28 AM on July 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think you'll be fine. Here's a BBC article about the city and the right-wing claims that it's the "rape capital of Europe."

Also, something to keep in mind: all the sources that I can find say that the murder rate doubled in Malmö from 2014-2015, but not all of those sources mention the actual numbers, so here they are: in 2014, 7 people were murdered in Malmö, and in 2015, 12 people were murdered. Hence, the murder rate doubled.

In city of with a population of 340,500 people, that doesn't seem too bad to me.
posted by colfax at 3:41 AM on July 11, 2017 [21 favorites]

It's one of the most pleasant and lovely safe feeling cities I've ever had the pleasure to visit. I'm glad you booked before googling, as it seems that what Google is coming up with is wildly unrepresentative!
Am sure you will have a very nice (if slightly boring) trip there. Lots of great design shops.
posted by stevedawg at 3:56 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Malmo is about as dangerous as Seattle - under a worst case comparison.
You need to take care when trying to compare crime figures in Sweden with those of the rest of the world. The police tend to class some crimes as "murders" when what they are talking about is merely cases where there is a lethal outcome - so suicides and deaths from natural causes are included. Swedes are also thought to be more likely than citizens of other countries to report assaults and sex crimes. See wikipedia's "crime in Sweden" page. The Malmo's murder rate is about 3.5 per 100,000 - which is about a 10th that of the lowest rated "high murder" cities - and happens to be about the same as Seattle's.
posted by rongorongo at 4:09 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I lived in Malmö for 10 years. As others have correctly pointed out, the "danger" is a right-wing talking point designed to (1) show immigrants as a threat (2) delegitimize "socialist" sweden.

The violence which does exist is mostly between gangs of varying flavors which rarely spills over to normal people. It does occasionally take forms not usually seen in the US, e.g. people throwing hand grenades into apartments, but that's more to do with availability than anything.
posted by beerbajay at 4:33 AM on July 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

I visited Malmö to speak at a conference a few years ago. It was a really cute town. It felt very safe, and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

ps I highly recommend visiting Ribersborgs Kallbadhus while you're there! A++ would jump naked into the Baltic Sea again
posted by 168 at 4:51 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Even though this has been answered I really want to put my oar in and state as someone living in Sweden that you probably aren't overreacting to what you've read, but that what you've read is not true. It is literally part of the weaponized racist misinformation being pushed by the far-right (including elected reps) and nazis in Sweden and the US.

As mentioned above, be careful with cabs, they will rip you off as a tourist, but legally. Get the Cabonline app from the AppStore and use it to hail cabs.
posted by Iteki at 5:03 AM on July 11, 2017 [12 favorites]

I've been over there as a day trip from Copenhagen, and yes, it felt quite safe. We visited this nice chocolate factory.

Also we randomly happened to hit the Malmö Gallery Night, where many art-related things are open until midnight; but that's in September so I think you'll miss it. We were out and about quite late and had a grand time without worrying about safety at all.

I'm not sure if the little mouse cafes are still around (I never managed to see them myself), but they might be nice to see.
posted by nat at 5:26 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Have visited Malmö; it felt very safe as did the rest of Scandinavia. Let me put it this way: my landlady warned me that I shouldn't leave my bicycle outside overnight because "somebody might let the air out of the tires." And I'm thinking that man, I live in a nice place in the USA and if I left my bicycle outside overnight ... it wouldn't be there in the morning.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:41 AM on July 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

I mean, in fairness, all this being said, it's still a regular decent sized city; be as aware of yourself and surroundings as you would in other cities. You occasionally get (North American) tourists getting charmed into a ridiculous sense of security in Europe.
posted by Iteki at 6:55 AM on July 11, 2017

Am I buying into the fake news type, what's the deal with Malmö?

In short: yes, you are buying into racist right-wing nonsense.

My best friend lives in Malmo and it's a lovely place. Really, don't believe racists. Ever.

Pro tip: take one of the canal boat tours. You can also swing by Copenhagen, Denmark. It's a quick train journey away. Also very safe and lovely - and my erstwhile hometown.
posted by kariebookish at 7:38 AM on July 11, 2017

The murder rate is roughly the same as same as the state of Idaho. Canada as a whole has pretty much the same murder rate as Malmo (Sweden as a whole has a lower murder rate per 100K people). Would you vacation in Canada without a second thought? You'll be fine, use the same precautions you would in any city when travelling.

This is a case of nutjobs twisting numbers to back their own agenda say what they want them to say, and not what they actually say.
posted by wwax at 9:51 AM on July 11, 2017

Went to Malmo on a family trip a few years ago. It was very pleasant and we did not feel unsafe at any time.

There is a fairly entertaining series of crime novels set in Malmo. If you're going to read fiction about Malmo, I'd recommend the novels over the propaganda.
posted by bbq_ribs at 10:35 AM on July 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just so you know, the Swedish "National Security Officer" who started this crime wave scare is completely unknown to the Swedish government and might not even actually be Swedish. Fox News, of all places, even issued a retraction after interviewing him as an expert.

Sweden is one of the safest countries in the world. It's also absolutely amazing in the summer. You'll be fine. :)
posted by Brittanie at 2:05 PM on July 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I lived in Malmö as an exchange student about a zillion years ago and got my bicycle stolen. :-( Many years later I left a backpack on a bus in Stockholm. It contained my passport, important medicine, wallet, etc. A nice citizen turned in at the local police station; not a single thing had been removed. :-) Bad things can happen anywhere but there's a high likelihood that you will have a dandy time.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:18 PM on July 11, 2017

honestly, the one thing to look out for in Malmö is their funny nasal accent.

ha i kid, for serious, you'll be a-ok.
posted by speakeasy at 4:11 PM on July 11, 2017

I don't think Malmo is dangerous at all. Where are you getting this idea from?
posted by UnoDosTresEsto at 3:18 AM on July 12, 2017

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