Statistics from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office show a dramatic fall in the number of crimes during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.
Across all of 2020, 421,678 crimes were recorded, 2.4% fewer than the year before. Drug crimes (-9%), immigration crimes (-12%) and burglaries (-10%) were all down.
At the same time violent crimes rose 3%, in particular serious acts of violence (+9%), which were driven up by suicide attempts (+22%), rape (+5%) and serious bodily injury (+5%). Vehicle and electric bike thefts both rose by 15% as did threats and violence against public figures and members of the administration (+8%), which reached a record level in 2020.
During the first wave of the pandemic, crime numbers were down sharply. The number of crimes committed during the 7 weeks between 16 March and 4 May 2020, was 33% lower than the average over the same period of the last three years. This was driven mainly by falling drug crime (-31%), immigration related crime (-54%) and burglaries (-67%). With much of the country working from home, burglars stayed away.
During this same 7-week period, violent crimes were also down (-13%), with a few exceptions such as domestic violence (+5%). Over this 7-week period 78 more acts of domestic violence were reported than the prior 3-year average over the same period.
In 2020, for the first time, digital crimes were recorded. Across the year, there were 24,398 digital crimes, of which 16,395 involved online fraud.