Statistics show decline in murder rate in Switzerland

Effective deterrents? The overall number of murders continues to fall. Keystone

The period 2009-2016 saw an almost two-fifths reduction in the annual homicide rate in Switzerland, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) announced on Monday. Attempted murder is nevertheless on the rise.

This content was published on January 22, 2018 - 19:57

The average number of homicides annually during the period was 49; a drop of 38% compared to the previous period of analysis of 2000-2004, said the FSO.

The figure for annual attempted murders went up 24% to 172.

+ Read about the most recent crime stats in Switzerland

+ How the Swiss deal with the regulation of firearms

Most attacks are carried out by somebody with a close or very close relation to the victim, the FSO reported. For the period 2009-2016, one-third of cases involved people related by blood or marriage, while a quarter involved acquaintances. Just 27% of victims were attacked by a total stranger.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, many murders take place in the home. Here, women were generally the victims, men the perpetrators. Outside domestic environments, however, men made up 80% of victims.

The OFS also reported that murders carried out using guns became rarer. They made up 20% of cases, compared to 34% previously. Knives were the most common murder weapons.

Looking at the longer-term picture, the trend is also somewhat positive: the number of homicides per 100,000 people in Switzerland dropped from 1.5 in 1983 to about 0.5 in 2016.

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