From Iceland — Discussion About Criminal Groups May Lead To Prejudice Against Immigrants

Discussion About Criminal Groups May Lead To Prejudice Against Immigrants

Published March 5, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

In an interview with RÚV, Margrét Valdimarsdóttir, criminologist and lecturer at the University of Akureyri, said that a discussion about criminal groups will lead to increased funding for the Icelandic police.

She also believes that there is a risk that this will lead to increased prejudice against immigrants.

When speaking with the news agency, Margrét said, “We do not want there to be a general fear of people from Eastern Europe because of the discussion about foreign criminal groups.”

15 different criminal organisations in Iceland.

According to the police, there are currently 15 different criminal organisations in the country.

Runólfur Þórhallsson, Assistant Chief of Police in the National Commissioner of Police’s analytical department, told RÚV that it is difficult to map their nationality and even harder to see how large the groups are.

The police believe one of the criminal organisations to be a motorcycle gang.

Organised crime isn’t new here.

Criminologist Margrét Valdimarsdóttir says that it is important to state that the number of crimes has not increased in Iceland in the last 10 years.

Organized crime is defined as three or more people working together with the aim of profiting from crime. It has therefore always existed in Iceland.

No matter what data is examined, there is no indication of an increase in crime or that there are significant changes here.

Crimes committed by foreigners is increasingly alarming.

Foreign research has shown that residents of any country are increasingly concerned about crime committed by immigrants.

This has been shown in studies from Sweden, Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Margrét believes it to be important to discuss the topic without raising prejudice against all immigrants.

“Yes, I think there is a real danger of that and I think it is something we should keep in mind. We want the police to be able to handle law enforcement well. We want the police to have enough manpower to carry out prevention, to carry out investigations and to carry out general policing because that is very important.

“But we do not want there to be any general fear here, for example of people from Eastern Europe, that we consider them in itself more dangerous than Icelandic criminals, who are quite dangerous enough.”

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!