Crime perception: Swiss feel safer from violence
The threat of violent crime has receded in the last five years, with fewer people reporting that they have been the victim of aggression, according to a police survey.
The Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors presented the results of their survey, carried out every five years, on Monday. Of the 2,000 people asked, 7.9% said they had been the victim of assaults or threatening behaviour. That is down 2.1% from 2011, but there was a slight increase in reported robberies (+0.4% since 2011).
According to the latest official statistics, there were fewer murders in 2014 than at any time since records began in 1982. Homicides were down 29% between 2013 and 2014 and the rate of all crimes decreased 8.5%.
The police directors’ survey appears to confirm that trend went into last year. More than 85% of people surveyed said they felt safe alone on the streets at night. But the fear of burglary has increased since 2011 despite the actual rate of break-ins decreasing.
Almost nine out of ten survey respondents said they trusted the police to do a good job at keeping them safe.
The results of the latest survey are in marked contrast to the one carried out in 2011, which saw a sharp rise in the numbers of people who had either been the victim of crime (reported or unreported), or felt anxious about becoming a victim in future.
Switzerland’s image as a safe haven from serious crime took a hammering in the early years of the Millennium, particularly in cities such as Geneva. This was reflected in the 2011 crime perception survey.
Despite the more upbeat tone of the 2016 survey, criminologist and author Martin Killias said that Switzerland’s image as a land of law and order was still a thing of the past. “In the 1980s, Switzerland was considered the safest country, but that statement is long obsolete,” he said.
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