There's a narrative being pushed that Sweden has descended into a state of lawless anarchy due to recent immigration – in particular Muslim refugees from the war-torn Middle East and Africa – to the Scandinavian country. Sweden has taken in a large number of refugees per capita in recent years.

"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," President Trump bellowed at a rally in Florida, referring to a report on Fox News about immigration and crime there. "Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden – they took in large numbers, they're having problems like they never thought possible."

Journalist and documentary maker Ami Horowitz, who was attacked by a small group of Arabic-speaking migrants while filming in Sweden, claimed on Fox News that Swedish officials were covering up a wave of crimes by Muslim migrants.

Puzzled Swedes wondered what all the fuss was about. "What has he been smoking? said Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden, in response to Trump. "Last year there were [approximately] 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange [County] in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad."

But Trump-loving conspiracy theorists kept pushing the line that the truth was being covered up. "Any journalist claiming Sweden is safe; I will pay for travel costs & accommodation for you to stay in crime ridden migrant suburbs of Malmo," tweeted conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for Alex Jones's InfoWars website. Weston claims to have donated $2,000 to a journalist fundraising for the trip to Sweden.

So what do the figures actually show? There were 162,877 applications for asylum in Sweden during 2015, according to the country's official migration statistics. Only 58,802 asylum decisions were made during the year, of which 32,631 were approved and 9,524 were rejected, with others still to be processed.

The Swedish government has since imposed tighter border controls as managing the influx became unsustainable. By December 2016, just 28,000 asylum applications had been made in Sweden. The total number of permits given to migrants, including asylum seekers, has risen from 62,463 in 2005 to 109,235 in 2015.

According to preliminary statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), there were 1.5 million reported crimes in Sweden in 2016, an increase of just 6,470 over the year. The number of reported rapes increased by 13% to 6,560. The number of reported sexual assaults rose by 20% to 10,500 crimes. But both of these increases follow big falls between 2014 and 2015, distorting the figures.

Donald Trump Florida rally
Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Melbourne, Florida Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"The number of crimes reported can depend very much on the propensity to report," Jerzy Sarnecki, a criminology professor at the University of Stockholm, told The Local, a Swedish news publication.

He said the increased discussion around sexual assault, and if there was any relationship between the number of sexual assaults and immigration, could have spurred on greater reporting by victims.

"The problem with explaining these figures is that very many variables not necessarily related to crime impact the figures," Sarnecki said. "You have to be very careful, in particular if you look at changes on a year-to-year basis."

"In the Swedish system, individual reports regarding a great number of offences may affect and give rise to variations in the statistics," said Brå about its data. "For instance, when a single case is reported that turns out to involve hundreds or even thousands of instances of offences committed against an individual over the course of many years, every single incident is recorded as an offence in the year it was reported.

"It is also important to remember that non-reporting is particularly extensive for sex offences and changes in the inclination to report can affect the number of rapes in the statistics."

The US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) is a government body which exists "to promote security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the US Department of State."

OSAC writes country-by-country "crime and safety" reports, analysing the level of crime, terror threat, and other areas of security concern for travellers. "The general crime rate in Sweden is below the US national average; however, the notion that foreign travellers are immune to crime is a common misconception," says its Sweden report.

"Criminal networks from neighbouring Schengen countries can impact the nature of criminal activity in Sweden, but it is unknown exactly how much influence these networks have. Organised criminal activity is driven by low-level organised criminal groups, many associated with larger motorcycle gangs and organised crime elements from Eastern Europe.

"Between January-August 2015, Malmö experienced 31 grenade attacks, which resulted in no deaths and minor injuries to a few individuals, that police attributed to conflicts between organised crime elements. Police made a concerted effort to stop grenade attacks, and none have been reported since then."

Sweden refugees
A refugee walks through a hallway in Sweden's largest temporary camp for asylum seekers in the former Restad Gård psychiatric hospital in Vänersborg David Ramos/Getty Images

It adds: "Sweden's political engagement abroad has not cultivated homegrown domestic terrorist groups with a clear mandate/agenda to target Swedish infrastructure or government. However, the US Embassy recognizes the possibility that unaffiliated/autonomous groups may conduct terrorist attacks."

And it also notes the only Islamist terror attack in Sweden: "In December 2010, a busy commercial district of Stockholm experienced its first reported suicide bombing. The bomber activated his devices prematurely and killed only himself."

Riots broke out on 20 February in a suburb of Stockholm, which is home to large numbers of immigrants, after police arrested someone on drugs charges, reported AP. "This kind of situation doesn't happen that often but it is always regrettable when they happen," said Lars Bystrom, a spokesman for the Swedish police force.

An oft-repeated myth is that there are no-go areas for the police in Sweden. "It's a question that appears every now and then," police spokesperson Lars Förstell told BuzzFeed News in January. "It has never been true."

And Johanna Blomqvist, another spokesperson for the Swedish police, told the country's news agency TT, in an article republished by The Local, that there are no areas that the police do not enter. "In a report from 2015 the police describe 15 particularly vulnerable areas," she said.

"These areas are characterised by, among other things, the difficulty for the police to fulfill its duty. There are no guidelines that the police should not visit these areas."