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Switzerland sees spike in cross-border crime

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11:38 CEST+02:00

Cross-border crime is on the rise, and becoming ever more violent, in western Switzerland and the Ticino, according to new statistics. 

The latest figures produced by Swiss border authorities show a significant increase in the number of arrests being made at the borders, newspaper Tribune de Genève reports.

“The perpetrators are armed with assault rifles, machine guns and even rocket-propelled grenades. They will stop at almost nothing,” Jürg Noth, head of the Swiss Border Guard, told the newspaper.

“We even had a case where criminals blew up a bank with explosives,” he said.

In 2010, 2,530 people were arrested, followed by 2,960 arrests in 2011. However, 2012 looks set to smash the record with 970 arrests in the first quarter, correlating to an annual figure of some 3,880 if the trend continues in the same way.

The number of border guards is now being increased in the affected areas, and special training is also being given. New equipment is being provided, including better body armour, and a new road-block system is being set up in order to “effectively” stop renegade vehicles.

According to Noth, the numbers are increasing because of the rise in aggravated robbery carried out by organized crime gangs from the French suburbs, newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reports.

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The criminals are believed to come mostly from around Lyon, and are targeting Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura, as well as the Ticino.

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