Exchange students flee dangerous Swedish ghetto

Exchange students flee dangerous Swedish ghetto

Photo: Isabelle Eriksson


Shootings, robberies, stabbings, rapes and school fires. Foreign exchange- and international students are now demanding to be transferred from ghetto ‘Tjärna Ängar’ in Borlänge, Sweden, due to the surge in violent crime. Mufassireen Ahmed is from India and is a representative of the student union International Students at Dalarna College. She is one of the main drivers behind the initiative.

‘’We demand a safer place, the increase in violent crime in the area is making students feel unsafe and stressed out, she told Nyhetsbyrån.’’

Mufassireen Ahmed came to Sweden to pursue her master’s degree 2018. She is one of the nearly 400 students that live in Tjärna Ängar in Borlänge, Sweden. She is active in Dalarna College’s student union as the representative for International Students. Along with Peter Huld, she wrote a letter that they sent to the principle of the college, the property owners and the local municipality. 

Peter Huld

In the letter they have gathered information from exchange students in the area that have witnessed and experienced everything from robberies to rapes. Many students have even witnessed stabbings and heard gun shots, while in their rooms studying. 

The letter states that the students are suffering both physically and mentally, which is negatively impacting their studies. Some students have even prematurely ended their studies and left Sweden because they were feeling unsafe. Many exchange students have invested large amounts of money to study in Sweden and had high expectations for their stays. The students are also disappointed that they’d not get a chance to experience Swedish culture, as the area is largely populated by immigrants and non-ethnic Swedes. 

– I feel unsafe when I go out at night. Once I was followed by a gang, so I called my friends. Many girls feel like they are being followed, says Ahmed. 

Mufassireen Ahmed, Photo: Peter Huld

Ahmed and Huld expressed in the letter that the situation is critical and that the events have been reported to the police. The students deserve a better place, she explains. They should be closer to the city center, in a place with job opportunities and businesses nearby, with lower crime rates.  


According to Swedish police, Tjärna Ängar is classified as a ghetto with high rates of violent crime as well as immigrants and refugees from conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. Somalis are the largest demographic group in the area. 

Ahmed told a story about when a boy was sleeping in his room. Suddenly he was robbed by two assailants that had climbed up the railing, broken the window and stolen his phone, money and other valuables in the apartment. 

The students had as early as 2016 demanded to be relocated after a brutal rape took place. Neither the college nor the local municipality acted. A lot of this can be explained by pressure from different lobbying organisations like ‘’Dalarna against racism’’ and ‘’Borlänge multicultural institution’’, that deemed any form of action to be a slandering of the neighbourhood.

Nyhetsbyrån contacted the principle of Dalarna college Martin Norsell, but he has yet to respond. Nyhetsbyrån spoke the secretary of the principle who said that a meeting between all relevant parties will take place this week. Ultimately the local municipality has final say on whether the student housing can be relocated or not, since they are the owners of the property. 

Isabelle Eriksson

[email protected]

Translation by Emmie Mikaelsson

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