Okay, So Let's Talk About Sweden, Shall We ... ?

After Donald Trump's rally-rant about 'that thing that happened in Sweden last night' which prompted all of Sweden to reply 'What? Did we miss something?' and a former Swedish PM to ask what Donald was smoking, the retweets and misinformed garbage began to flow.

Ukip's Farage saw the passing bandwagon and joined in (well of course he did) as did, well, just about every Right Wing account we follow on our 'WatchList' (522+ dubious characters as of today)

 The Myth of Sweden's Rape and Sexual Crime data has earned it the false title of 'Rape Capital of the World' '.. of Europe' or '.. of the West' - and it all started when British Author Naomi Wolf stated on BBC's Newsnight, ages ago, that Sweden had the 'highest rape rate in Europe'.

How the data changed, and why.
All of which is completely untrue, of course. So to clarify why this Myth has gained traction, here's the key point:

In 2008, Sweden decided to change the way they collect crime data.

For several types of crimes, each offence was recorded as a separate incident rather than several similair occassions being lumped together. (as it should be).

This means, of course, that the new data is;
  • Not comparable with past data;
  • Not comparable with any other nation using a different criteria;
  • Probably a lot more accurate.
No other European nation does this (that we can see). It seems, then, that Sweden, in attempting to begin a process of collecting and recording such crimes in a better manner, have made themselves a target for these myths. Whereas other nations not doing this are fooling themselves over the true level of the crime.

Perhaps a method which better compares past data with now is the 10-year Crime Survey from NTU (via Professor of Statistics @RVAwonk on Twitter) which shows that the incidence of various crimes has not really changed very much at all:

For a deeper, more scholarly analysis of the myth and the crime data behind it, we recommend this report:

Meanwhile, Swedes continue to troll those illinformed haters. This was our favourite: