Residents of Switzerland should check out an annual report produced by the  Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Bern so that they can exercise normal precautions.

Non-violent petty crimes such as theft and burglaries are one of the main concerns in Switzerland, with instances of violent crime still being fairly low.  There are drug-related offenses but they don’t usually involve violence. The highest rate of reported crime take places in cities that experience high tourism traffic.

Organized crime rises

There has been an increase in assaults and rape in Bern, with Switzerland facing challenges of organized crime. The country is home to active organized crime elements from Southeast Europe, Italy, Russia, China and Africa.

Visitors to the country are told to never carry large amounts of cash with them and to flaunt shiny jewelry, cell phones and other gadgets. They need to also be aware of cybercrime. Hacking and data breaches are an ongoing concern in Switzerland. In fact, the area where crime is significantly up are foreigners with false papers or nothing at all.

Illegal foreigners to blame

Behind the figures for theft, drug use and illegal foreigners, there are sharp differences between urban and other areas. Of course, cities are always the hardest hit. The presence of foreigners in the country is high and in fact, a big percentage of criminals charged are foreigners without Swiss papers.  Many of them are asylum-seekers and then some are also Swiss residents.

Crimes by non-residents are increasing. Lausanne is a big part of the problem and police have said at a press conference that the city has seen a huge increase in crime.  The police were talking of increasing the presence of street patrols and areas where drug activity is particularly rife, will be targeted. Many repeat offenders are from North Africa. These marauding groups and repeat offenders from the North African countries are responsible for just about all the break-ins.

North African foreigners the biggest culprits

When the police start analyzing crime and use more sophisticated tracking technology, they have found that most of the crime comes directly from North Africans. In fact, from 2011 to 2012, all those arrested from North African countries rose by 42% and the crimes from them rose by 65%. These are the kinds of people that will stop at nothing to commit their crimes.

In 2012, Geneva saw its crime rates fall, and this was attributed to more intensive police work but that even more work would be needed in the future to bring these numbers down.

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