Crime in Switzerland

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In Switzerland, the police registered a total of 527,897 criminal offenses in 2010, including 53 killings and 187 attempted murders. There were 481 cases of rape and 62 attempted rapes.[1] In 2009, 94,574 adults (85% of them male, 47.4% of them Swiss citizens) were convicted under Swiss criminal law. 57.3% of convictions were for traffic offences.[2] In the same year, 15,064 minors (78.3% of them male, 68.2% of them of Swiss nationality, 76.3% aged between 15 and 18) were convicted.[3]

Convictions for infliction of bodily harm have steadily increased throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with 23 convictions for serious injury and 831 for light injury in 1990 as opposed to 78 and 2,342, respectively, in 2005. Convictions for rape have also slightly increased, fluctuating between 61 and 100 cases per year in the period 1985 to 1995, but between 100 and 113 cases in the period 2000 to 2005. Consistent with these trends, convictions for threats or violence directed against officials has consistently risen in the same period, from 348 in 1990 to 891 in 2003.[4][5]

Crime statistics[edit]

Types of convictions[edit]

The number of convictions in the last five years is given in the following table.[6] Each class of crime references the relevant section of the Strafgesetzbuch (Swiss criminal law, abbreviated as StGB) or the Strassenverkehrsgesetz (abbr. SVG, Swiss traffic laws).

Year Total Convictions Homicide
(Art. 111,112,113,116 StGB)
Serious Bodily Injury
(Art. 122 StGB)
Minor Bodily Injury
(Art. 123 StGB)
Sexual Contact with Children
(Art. 187 StGB)
Rape
(Art. 190 StGB)
Theft
(Art. 139 StGB)
Robbery
(Art. 140 StGB)
Receiving Stolen Goods
(Art. 160 StGB)
Embezzlement
(Art. 138 StGB)
Fraud
(Art. 146 StGB)
Narcotics Possession Major Violation of Traffic Laws
(Art. 90 SVG)
Drunk Driving
(Art. 91 Abs. 1 Satz 2 SVG)
2005 85,605 93 94 2,459 413 109 6,557 489 1,262 910 1,484 2,846 22,163 15,776
2006 90,592 95 105 2,523 382 131 6,569 553 1,196 880 1,521 2,616 21,599 18,439
2007 84,665 93 88 2,248 380 135 5,979 522 922 807 1,607 2,462 21,431 17,355
2008 93,024 95 133 2,635 415 133 6,345 522 905 848 1,665 2,606 25,339 17,836
2009 94,574 84 118 2,578 366 108 6,947 514 924 820 1,506 2,708 25,434 16,708

Historic conviction rates[edit]

The historic conviction rates are given in the following chart:[2]

Year Total Convictions Criminal Convictions Narcotics Convictions Traffic Convictions
Total Male Swiss Total Male Swiss Total Male Swiss
1985 46,437 21,736 81.5% 67.3% 3,824 83.9% 72.6% 21,033 92.4% 77.3%
1990 54,879 21,167 80.4% 58.2% 4,156 84.9% 63.8% 26,471 91.5% 70.4%
1995 60,955 18,571 83.5% 55.0% 5,415 87.0% 56.2% 32,565 89.6% 66.5%
2000 68,526 21,052 85.6% 49.2% 5,661 87.5% 42.4% 38,082 88.1% 63.0%
2005 85,605 28,224 85.1% 48.9% 5,824 89.2% 40.6% 46,696 87.2% 57.8%
2006 90,592 28,656 85.2% 49.5% 5,668 88.4% 42.8% 51,326 87.0% 57.2%
2007 84,665 25,910 85.2% 51.1% 5,264 88.7% 41.4% 49,483 87.0% 55.8%
2008a 93,024 28,214 84.8% 50.6% 5,621 89.7% 42.0% 54,845 86.4% 54.6%
2009a 94,574 29,045 84.9% 48.1% 5,669 89.5% 39.9% 54,231 86.4% 54.5%
^a 2008 and 2009 conviction numbers may not include convictions overturned on appeal.

Age at conviction[edit]

The age of the individuals at the time of their convictions is given in this chart:[2]

Year 18-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-59 60+
1985 8.5% 27.6% 19.1% 13.1% 10.2% 7.3% 5.2% 6.1% 3.0%
1990 7.0% 26.1% 20.3% 14.4% 9.8% 7.5% 5.4% 6.2% 3.4%
1995 5.2% 22.5% 21.9% 15.8% 11.1% 7.7% 6.0% 6.9% 3.0%
2000 6.3% 20.7% 18.0% 16.1% 12.2% 9.1% 6.5% 7.7% 3.3%
2005 7.5% 21.5% 15.9% 14.3% 12.2% 9.9% 6.9% 8.0% 3.8%
2006 7.2% 20.9% 15.7% 13.8% 12.5% 10.3% 7.3% 8.4% 3.9%
2007 7.2% 20.7% 15.3% 13.0% 12.1% 10.6% 7.8% 8.9% 4.4%
2008a 7.6% 20.6% 15.0% 12.3% 12.2% 10.5% 7.8% 9.3% 4.6%
2009a 6.8% 21.0% 15.5% 12.5% 11.7% 10.0% 8.0% 9.4% 5.1%
^a 2008 and 2009 conviction numbers may not include convictions overturned on appeal.

Prisons[edit]

At the end of 2006, 5,888 people were interned in Swiss prisons, one third of them on remand , 31% of them Swiss citizens, 69% resident foreigners or illegal immigrants; excluding remand: 36% Swiss or 32 in 100,000, 64% foreigners or 160 in 100,000.

Crime dynamics[edit]

Immigrant criminality[edit]

The crime rate among resident foreigners ("immigrant criminality") is significantly higher (by a factor 3.7 counting convictions under criminal law in 2003).[7] In 1997, there were for the first time more foreigners than Swiss among the convicts under criminal law (out of a fraction of 20.6% of the total population at the time). In 1999, the Federal Department of Justice and Police ordered a study regarding delinquency and nationality (Arbeitsgruppe "Ausländerkriminalität"), which in its final report (2001) found that a conviction rate under criminal law about 12 times higher among asylum seekers (4%), while the conviction rate among other resident foreigners was about twice as high (0.6%) compared to Swiss citizens (0.3%).[8]

In 2010 for the first time was a statistic published which listed delinquency by nationality (based on 2009 data). To avoid distortions due to demographic structure, only the male population aged between 18 and 34 was considered for each group. From this study it became clear that crime rate is highly correlated on the country of origin of the various migrant groups. Thus, immigrants from Germany, France and Austria had a significantly lower crime rate than Swiss citizens (60% to 80%), while immigrants from Angola, Nigeria and Algeria had a crime rate of above 600% of that of Swiss population. In between these extremes were immigrants from Former Yugoslavia, with crime rates of between 210% and 300% of the Swiss value.[9]

The full report listed 24 nationalities plus the crime rate of Swiss citizens (fixed at 100%), and the average value of all foreign citizens combined, at 160%. Commentators expressed surprise[10] at the clear geographical structure of the list, giving, in decreasing order, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, Southern Europe and Western and Central Europe. The Federal Statistics Office published the study with the caveat that the sizes of the groups under comparison vary considerably. For example, the net impact of a crime rate increased by 530% among 500 Angolans will still be five times smaller than a crime rate increased by 30% among 46'000 Portuguese. The country is a target for foreign criminals on account of its reputation as an affluent nation. According to British criminal Colin Blaney in his autobiography 'Undesirables', groups of English thieves have frequently targeted the nation in the past due to the fact its citizens are relatively wealthy and the fact that they are naïve about crime due to the country's low crime rate.[11]

rank country of origin crime rate
(relative value)
registered population
(thousands)[12]
male young adults
(thousands)[13]
1 Angola 6.3 4.4 0.54
2 Nigeria 6.2 2.9 1.5
3 Algeria 6.0 4.1 1.2
4 Côte d'Ivoire 5.9 1.7 0.44
5 Dominican Republic 5.8 5.9 1.0
6 Sri Lanka 4.7 31 4.4
7 Congo (Kinshasa) 4.7 5.8 0.78
8 Cameroon 4.4 4.3 0.97
9 Morocco 4.3 7.4 1.6
10 Tunisia 4.2 6.3 2.1
11 Iraq 3.7 8.0 2.9
12 Colombia 3.2 4.2 0.71
13 Turkey 3.2 73 16
14 the former Serbia and Montenegro
(includes Kosovo)
3.1 188 36
15 Brazil 3.0 17 2.5
16 Egypt 2.7 2.1 0.81
17 Croatia 2.4 35 5.0
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.3 37 6.2
19 Republic of Macedonia 2.3 60 12
total foreign national population 1.6 1,714 330
20 Portugal 1.3 213 46
21 Italy 1.2 294 49
22 Switzerland 1.0 6,072 710
23 Austria 0.8 38 5.8
24 France 0.7 95 21
25 Germany 0.6 266 62

On 28 November 2010, 53% of voters approved a new, tougher deportation law. This law, proposed by the Swiss People's Party, called for the automatic expulsion of non-Swiss offenders convicted of a number of crimes, including murder, breaking and entry and even welfare fraud. As the proposal makes deportation mandatory, it denies judges any judicial discretion over deportation. An alternative proposal, that included case by case reviews and integration measures, was rejected by 54% of voters.[14]

Crime by type[edit]

Corruption[edit]

The Transparency International Global Barometer 2013 shows that 58% of the surveyed households believe that corruption has not changed over the past two years, and 28% believe that it has actually increased. The same survey also shows that political parties are considered the most corrupt institution in Switzerland.[15]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]