by Jessica Dacey, swissinfo.ch and agencies
Once seen as the safest country in Europe, Switzerland has succumbed to the continent’s average levels of street violence, burglaries and assault.
A report presented by the cantonal justice and police directors on Tuesday showed a rise in criminal activity since 2004, when the last major study on crimes was carried out.
“Although Switzerland had the lowest crime rate [in Europe] in 1988, today’s crime rate is to a large extent aligning itself with the percentages in the rest of Europe,” said a statement by the cross-cantonal police body.
“The myth that Switzerland is the safest country in the world, or at least Europe, is over. Forget it,” added the criminologist in charge of the report, Martin Killias.
The report looked at a representative 2,000 Swiss who were polled between 2006-2010. Over ten per cent of respondents said they had been the victim of assaults or threatening behaviour, compared with 7.2 per cent in 2004. Most incidents happened in public and had become more serious over the years.
The number of people burgled also rose in that time, from 5.1 to 7.1 per cent. Robberies were also up, but stayed below the European average. Bike theft leapt, although car break-ins and motorbike theft was down, probably because of better security measures.
Sexual assaults against women fell slightly compared with 2004 and were under the European average.