Thefts halved but fraud on the rise

In 2018, the police registered some 112,000 thefts in Switzerland, representing a decline of 7.9% from the previous year. Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

The number of registered thefts in Switzerland has nearly halved since 2012 but fraud is increasing. Violent crimes remain stable.

This content was published on March 25, 2019 - 13:10

In 2018, the police registered some 112,000 thefts in Switzerland, representing a decline of 7.9% from the previous year, according to the latest crime statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office on Monday.

In 2012 there were 219,000 thefts. This includes breaking and entering and pickpocketing, but not shoplifting or vehicle theft.

Robbery (1,644 offences) and property damage without theft (42,243 offences) are also on the decline, both reaching a ten-year low in 2018. The number of burglaries also fell by 7% to 30,383. This still amounts to three burglaries per hour in Switzerland, according to the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders.

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Vehicle theft also reached its lowest level since 2009. Compared with 2017, fewer bicycles but more e-bikes were reported as stolen to the police.

The total number of offences recorded by the police against the Criminal Code and the Narcotics Act dropped by 1.4% and 4.7% respectively in 2018.

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Increase in fraud

Some crimes saw an increase last year. Fraud increased by 23% to 16,319 cases, the highest figure since statistics were revised in 2009.

Other criminal offences that are less frequent (fewer than 1,000 offences a year), such as blackmailing, con artistry, unauthorised entry into data-processing systems or bilking (dining and dashing) reached their highest level in ten years.

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According to the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders, 13% more criminal offences were committed, for example in the misuse of data-processing equipment.

Despite an increase in assaults (+745) and simple physical injuries (+187), the total number of all violent crimes per 1,000 inhabitants remained relatively stable at 5.2 per thousand or a total of 1,425, according to the statistical office.

There were 50 homicides in Switzerland in 2018, more than half of which took place at home.

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Drop in offences by minors

With 8,553 cases, the police recorded 0.5% fewer offences by minors in 2018 compared with the previous year. In 2009, there were 14,899 juvenile crimes.

Among those aged 18-24, there was a 1.5% increase (13,859) on the previous year, but this is also a decrease compared with 2009 (16,595). Adults represented 57,796 of the accused, which is an increase of 3.6%. This is the highest value since 2009 when there were 48,666 adult defendants.

The number of minors and adults accused of drug use dropped by 9.6% and 3.4% respectively. 

The statistical office notes that this decline mainly affects the consumption of cannabis products. Cannabis use is only punished by a fine for adults and is therefore not reported in police crime statistics.

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