Open borders and mild sentences encourages more foreigners to come to Norway to commit criminal acts, says Oslo Police Chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold.
"The problem is foreigners, not immigrants," Sjøvold tells NRK. The Police Chief thinks that foreigners who come to Norway for short periods of time are already criminals, and come here to commit crimes.
"It's a problem that this can stigmatize immigrants who already live in Norway," Sjøvold explains.
His statement is part of a series of articles on NRK.no this week about "immigration myths," based on Statistics Norway's 2012-survey about Norwegians' attitude towards immigrants. One out of three respondents think that most immigrants are a source of insecurity.
Last year, the number of reported cases of pickpocketing increased by 19,4 percent, and mild and serious cases of theft increased by 8,1 and 10 percent respectively. The number of reported cased related to drugs also went up, by 15,1 percent.
Police think that the increase in criminal acts is due to the high number of foreigners that come to visit Norway for short periods of time. "It's hard for police to investigate these cases because we don't know their identities, and they can quickly leave the country again," Sjøvold tells NRK.
Sjøvold emphasizes that sentences currently given to those who commit these crimes do not pose a great enough risk. "The Oslo Police Presinct has suggested stricter sentences for certain criminal acts," the Police Chief says.