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Are there any parts in Zurich you should avoid?

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Are there any parts in Zurich you should avoid?
Zurich's Langstrasse is sometimes considered unsafe. Image by Raphi D from Pixabay.

Switzerland is largely counted among Europe’s safest countries with even its larger cities – like Zurich - seeing little serious crime. So, are there any parts of Zurich you should avoid?


Generally speaking, Switzerland, and its cities, are very safe.

The crime rate in the country is among the lowest in Europe, according to an international ranking.  

This is somewhat of a paradox, considering that Switzerland has a high number of firearms in circulation — about 2.3 million in a country of neatly 9 million people.

Yet, despite the abundance of weapons in private hands, the rate of gun violence is very low in Switzerland — even though kids and teenagers own firearms as well.

Now, let’s take a look at Zurich

Not surprisingly, in Zurich too, the crime rate is relatively low when compared to other European metropolises.

The Economist’s Safe Cities Index even ranked Zurich in the top 20 safest cities in the world in 2021 (latest ranking available).

Yet, the city’s crime statistics (not yet available for 2023) show that the number of crimes known to the police in Zurich increased by around 9.1 percent in 2022 (41,946) compared to the previous year (2021: 38,448).

However, the figure is lower than it was before the corona pandemic (2019: 43,333).

According to the canton of Zurich, this increase was to be expected given the Covid pandemic, which may have contributed to criminals becoming less active in 2021 compared to 2022.


READ MORE: How safe is Switzerland compared to the rest of Europe?

What were the most common offences recorded in Zurich in 2022?

The city of Zurich’s crime statistics also noted an increase in serious physical injuries during the reporting year.

The number of crimes against life and limb has increased by a total of 231 cases. In public spaces, the number of assaults increased by 98, while simple assaults increased by 52 and serious assaults by 43.

The incidents, the city noted, mainly occurred late at night or on weekends and are related to the resurgence of nightlife and the corresponding number of people.

During 2022, the number of burglaries continued to fall, however with 2,044 reported crimes, it fell short of the 2021 low by 38 cases.


The city also reported a surge within vehicle break-ins, which increased by 138 incidents compared to 2021.

In the reporting year, the Zurich City Police identified eight people who had committed a total of 81 of these vehicle break-ins with one criminal – who was caught red-handed and arrested - committing 30 of them alone.

Fortunately, 2022 saw fewer incidents of violence and threats against authorities and officials in the city of Zurich. At the same time, the number of cases involving employees of the Zurich City Police also fell slightly in the year.

Though the proportion of the various crime areas – against sexual integrity, against life and limb, against freedom, against wealth and other crimes – remained roughly the same the past five years, the canton of Zurich observed a significant increase in offenses against sexual integrity among minors.


The majority of the crimes were related to prohibited pornography, which is often shared among young people via various messenger apps – a punishable offense in Switzerland.

So, which areas of Zurich are you better off avoiding?

There are no stats available that shed light on the crime rates in certain neighbourhoods in Zurich, but there are media stories that point to problems in certain areas.

However, an older study commissioned by Zurich City Police found that 98 percent of residents feel very safe or fairly safe in the city during the day. 

But remember that whilst some residents and visitors might say these areas should be avoided, others will have entirely different views.

READ MORE: What do Zurich residents like and dislike about their city?


Many media reports have suggested that some of those living (and visiting) Zurich do not feel their safest when visiting Zurich’s Langstrasse (District 4) – the city’s party strip and red light district. 

Earlier this year, the area was plagued with riots which resulted in violence against police officers, prompting many residents to feel unsafe. Later in the year, a murder occurred in the area’s Lugano Bar and a violent brawl followed between football fans.

Tourists have also cautioned against booking hotels around Langstrasse.


Zurich’s District 4 is also no stranger to the occasional crime with violent fights making the news every so often, and therefore at times deemed unsafe by some.


Swiss media often refers to Schwamendingen (District 12) as one of Zurich’s most dangerous areas – or problem area (Problemviertel) - given its frequent crime coverage.

In the past, Schwamendingen has been plagued with reports of murder (and subsequent rumours of mafia interference) and a rising number in youth violence incidents.


Respondents of the study also mentioned feeling unsafe in Zurich’s District 5, also known as Zurich West, though most media outlets only report on traffic accidents in the area.

Platzspitz park

Respondents also said they would try and avoid Zurich’s parks at night-time.

In fact, Zurich’s Platzspitz park – formerly known as the Needle Park - has a long history with drugs when heroin users would flock the green space in the 1980s and early 1990s to inject heroin out of sight before the park closed in 1992.

Today, the park is a far cry from its sordid past, however, some residents still choose to stay away come nightfall.

Train station

Though the area around Zurich’s main station is generally considered rather safe – especially during the day – you may still want to be vigilant as train stations often attract petty crime.


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