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At the end of 2016 the stores in Husby, a district of the Swedish capital Stockholm, closed their doors in protest against the unrest that plagued the area. The businesses watched their suburb become a no-go area, and felt helpless against the vandalism, robberies, and violence. It took until February of 2017 for the Rinkeby-Kista district council, of which Husby is a part, to come up with a solution.

It promised Husby would be patrolled by security officials, given powers to keep the peace, thus creating a safer environment. The guards should have been there in April, at the latest. However, there still aren’t any guards in sight.

Chairman of the Business Association in Husby, Salam Kurda, is critical of the council. Although CCTV cameras have been installed, to some effect, he feels it is not enough.

We have been screaming for years, that there is chaos in our area. It is deserted. It feels like this plan with the guards was all just propaganda.

He has chosen to shut down his shop, which he has been running for 30 years, at the end of the year, simultaneously relinquishing his post as chairman.

I will continue as a wholesaler and businessman, but I also intend to engage politically, for the Moderates. There are questions I can ask in Järva [the district next to Swedish Parliament] and I hope to wake up our national politicians.

When discussing the reason there are still no guards in Husby, acting deputy director of Rinkeby-Kista Gunilla Davidsson says that:

[Security firm] Securitas wanted too much money for the assignment, which we couldn’t agree to. The other company [contacted], Nokas, did not want to take on the task at all.

Asked if the firms refused the task because of the level of insecurity in Husby, Davidsson refused to answer, saying that she was not given a reason, but that the council is continuing the dialogue with its partners, trying to find a way to proceed.

Nokas’s acting CEO David Larsson said his company refused the commission for a variety of reasons, one of them being the large number of tasks Nokas has already committed to:

But it is also difficult to find good, qualified staff in such a short time – just three months. Besides, there is a safety issue: Husby is a complex area, you need the right people, who are able to start a dialogue with those that cause trouble and don’t always do what you want, and this just takes more than three months to undertake.

Last year, a Norwegian television crew was attacked in the area whilst filming an interview. One of the reporters called it “a war zone”.