Police in Oslo are reporting a spike in violence among young Norwegians in the capital, carried out by gangs and less-organized groups of troublesome teenage boys. Attacks included 20 stabbings between March 20 and May 1st.
“There’s a great willingness and ability to carry out attacks,” Tore Soldal of the Oslo Police District, told newspaper Klassekampen. Police won’t call it “gang wars” or turf battles, though, because many involved aren’t part of established groups. Inspector Grete Lien Metlid nonetheless worries that the youngsters involved can be drawn into established criminal networks.
They’re recruited often because they’re below the age of 18, sometimes even younger than 15, and thus can’t be held criminally liable or subject to jail terms. Police are forced to mostly let them go, or turn them over to the already beleaguered juvenile authority Barnevernet.
Many of the violent incidents, including robberies on the street or on public transport, take place in the downtown, Grønland and Tøyen areas of Oslo. The number of young repeat offenders has doubled in the past two years.