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Dogs make grizzly find as Oslo murder rate soars

Published: 14 Oct 2011 11:15 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Oct 2011 11:50 GMT+02:00

The stench of human remains wrapped in plastic and dumped in a forest gully had bothered local farm hands since summer. The gully lay by a gravel service road in the outer-Oslo neighbourhood Klemetsrud.

The dogs that found the body on Thursday afternoon were among others at a nearby sanctuary for unwanted animals. Two teenage girls had volunteered to walk the dogs and made the grizzly discovery.

It looked to be the fifth homicide for Oslo-area police in just two weeks. After the body was found on Thursday afternoon, police raised the alarm.

“It could be that people who have sat and planned to kill have now been encouraged to carry out those plans by other crimes they've seen in the media,” said police crime researcher Ragnild Bjørnebekk to TV 2 News.

On Monday, the apparent murder of IT worker Willy Brown shook the capital’s east-end residents. The Norwegian-born Brown had been out on the town on Friday and found dead on Monday, with police theorizing he had let the killer in at some point after returning from home from an Oslo bar.

Brown’s is Oslo’s ninth homicide of the year, or about as many as sister city Stockholm sees in a year. Sweden as a whole sees about 230 homicides a year.

For comparison’s sake, there have been 33 homicides in Canada’s commercial capital Toronto this year, although the thoroughly cosmopolitan city has a population the same size as Norway's with 4.5 million inhabitants.

By contrast, Honduras — with 20 killings a day and 3,600 in the first-half of 2011 — is the world homicide capital, with drug wars recently sweeping across the country. According to newspaper Dagbladet, Honduras has passed war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq in terms of daily death toll.

Sweden’s three and Norway’s usual one homicide per 100,000 inhabitants pales significantly against the 80 per 100,000 Hondurans endure.

In her research, Bjørnebekk has written that had Norway had the average number of homicides for the world there would be 400 a year here. Oslo’s numbers are higher than the rest of the country at 1.67 per 100,000, or just under Copenhagen and Toronto, the most cosmopolitan city in the world.

New Yorktops the list of developed world capitals with 7.3 homicides per 100,000 residents.

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