Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Denmark: Anti-Gang Measures Proposed

(Oct. 30, 2013) On October 29, 2013, Denmark’s Justice Minister, Morten Bødskov, announced a plan to respond to the problem of gang-related crime in the country. There were 49 gang-related shootings in Denmark in the first six months of 2013, and 421 firearms were confiscated. Of those weapons, 89 were definitely tied to gang members. Furthermore, two people were killed and others were injured in a shooting incident involving rival gangs. Bødskov stated that “[t]he government is determined to move in against the gangs. Hardcore members who have chosen a path of crime shouldn’t expect any kind of tolerance.” (Andreas Jakobsen, Government to Crack Down on Gangs, (Oct. 29, 2013), THE COPENHAGEN POST.)

The plan, estimated to cost 200 million kroner (about US$37 million), includes raising the penalty for carrying a loaded firearm in public from the current 12 months to at least 18 months of imprisonment; the sentence for carrying an unloaded gun would be 15 months. In addition, imprisoned gang members could be denied release or probationary status if gang conflict continues. The program also includes efforts to help criminals escape from gangs, with money earmarked for relocation of gang members who want to change their lives, including funding for the removal of gang-related tattoos. Bødskov noted the importance of keeping hardened criminals off the streets, but added that “those criminals who wish to leave the gangs should also have a better opportunity to do so.” (Id.)

Karsten Lauritzen of the Venstre Party (the party of the previous government, which had instituted the current penalties for carrying weapons) expressed support for the idea of trying to curb the gang problem, but noted that the new plan may not be sufficient, stating “[i]t’s great that they are making an effort, but it’s a very small step.” (Id.) Another opposition party, the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti, proposed that additional measures be added to the plan, including shuttering biker-gang clubhouses. (Id.)