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Speech by Mr Morgan Johansson at the Stockholm Criminology Symposium 2021

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Speech given at the Prize Ceremony

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Thank you, Anne.

Your Majesty, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

As Sweden’s Minister for Justice and Migration, it is a great honour to welcome you all to the Stockholm Prize in Criminology Award Ceremony.

I am particularly delighted to welcome Her Majesty The Queen.

Your Majesty, your presence here today is a clear demonstration of your support for crime prevention efforts around the world, and for this symposium and the Prize.

I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to making – and who continue to make – the Stockholm Criminology Symposium an internationally recognised and inspiring meeting place. In particular, I would like to express my appreciation to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, which has organised every Symposium since its inception in 2006.

This year, I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Torsten Söderberg Foundation, co-founder of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology Foundation and generous donor.

For many of us – myself included – this year’s symposium is especially long-awaited, as last year’s conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And despite the digital format, I am certain that many rewarding meetings and discussions have taken place today. And that tomorrow will be equally inspiring.  

Today, we honour two individuals who have shed light on the ever-present issue of gun violence. Around the world, societies face the challenge of gun violence and its devastating effects. Sweden is no exception.

Gun violence takes many different forms: domestic violence, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, disputes between criminals but also accidents and suicides.

Regardless of context, we must not forget that behind each statistic is a human life cut short, and family and friends left to deal with the tragedy and their loss. Countering gun violence is one of our most crucial challenges.

The research conducted by Professor Philip J. Cook and Professor Franklin E Zimring – the 2020 Stockholm Criminology Laureates – has considerably improved our ability to counter global gun violence.

For more than five decades, their evidence-based approach has shed light on the effects of gun policy and stimulated policy initiatives to curb gun violence.

Although Professor Cook is an economist and Professor Zimring is a lawyer, they have both been influential in developing and applying the science of criminology. 

Professor Cook has created a standard measure for predicting variation in lethal gun violence based on gun density. This measure is now widely used by many other researchers to study a range of phenomena, including rates of lethal police shootings.

Professor Zimring and his colleagues first demonstrated that rates of death per attack differed significantly depending on the type of weapon used. As he continued his research, he compiled data from across the United States to show that murder rates varied more in relation to gun availability than in relation to crime rates.

Through diligent research, Professor Cook and Professor Zimring have falsified the claim that gun availability is irrelevant to the level of gun injuries.

Their work has paved the way for more gun violence research, and strengthened the evidence base for policy interventions and more effective action to reduce the suffering caused by guns.

Professor Philip J. Cook and Professor Franklin E. Zimring – my warmest congratulations to you.  Thank you for your valuable contributions. I wish you both well.