Though historically one of the world’s most peaceful countries, Sweden has become more conflict-riddled of late.
Throughout 2018, it endured over 300 shootings, causing a worsening score in perceptions of criminality, and alarming headlines like "Sweden's violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image." Similar to Denmark, this deterioration was largely due to increased violent gang activity, and in particular grenade attacks.
Sweden is also part of a small group of peaceful countries that performed poorly in the militarization sector. It’s in the top 10 when it comes to weapon imports, a distinction it’s held for five years running.
So why, despite this, does the country still rank so high? Incarceration rates in Sweden are among some of the lowest in the world, which helped the country rank eighth in the societal safety and security sector. And we do mean low: per 100,000 Swedish residents, just 59 are in jail. In the country with the highest incarceration rate, the United States, that number is 655.
The country's rising violent-crime rate may cause pause in travelers, but on the whole, this is still a safe, peaceful place to venture to for extraordinary nature and culturally rich cities.