Is Switzerland Still The World’s Safest Country?

According to crime statistics provided by the Swiss authorities, crime rates have dropped marginally in 2015 by more than 7% compared to pervious years. The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) released figures in 2015 showing a sharp decline in crimes committed on Swiss soil.

Around 77,000 crimes were committed in 2015, which is the lowest since 2009; the figure encompasses crimes committed by both Swiss and foreign lawbreakers. The Swiss authorities release statistics every year; the statistics released show an increase in the number of foreign perpetrators.

The most prolific foreign perpetrators of crime in Switzerland were Italians, followed by Portuguese residents. According to statistics Switzerland has one of the highest percentages of foreign residents in Europe reaching a peak of 24.3% in 2014 alone.

With the influx of refugees streaming to countries like Germany the figures in crime and foreign residency would have considerably changed from previous years. Nevertheless, Switzerland is still relatively considered a safe country to live in compared to other lands, having said that, the country has been succumbing to average levels of street violence, burglaries and assault.

“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.

A newspaper report displayed statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) showed that there were 8.4% fewer crimes in 2015. The FSO report also showed that the canton with the most crime was Geneva.

The FSO report indicated that were 123 criminal acts for every 1,000 inhabitants, which is a sharp increase of 4.6% from the previous year.

“The myth that Switzerland is the safest country in the world, or at least Europe is over, forget it,” said criminologist Martin Killias a Zurich University criminology professor.

Pundits like Professor Killias believe that the rise in street violence in cities like Zurich for example is probably due to Swiss nightlife gaining momentum.

Killias reiterated the fact that violence and crime rates go up when there are more people on the streets at night drinking alcohol and using night trains and buses.

The Swiss Council for Accident prevention backed Professor Killias’ statement; it found that cases of violence remarkably doubled in the last 15 years, particularly among men aged 15-24.

A report released by the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention stated that 30 young men in 1,000 were badly injured through violence in 2009; the numbers are expected to increase in the coming years.

With the advent of gang members targeting stores in Switzerland because of the light penal sentences handed by Swiss courts more crime is taking place believes professor Killias.

To remedy the problem professor Killias believes that Swiss courts should hand down tougher sentences and penalties and improve compensation for victims.

Given all these statistics the question of whether Switzerland is still the world’s safest country remains an enigma, even though the crime rates may increase, statistics show that Swiss police are adequately qualified to handle and respond to crime related problems.