Crime For Members

How likely are you to be burgled in Switzerland and how can you avoid it?

The Local Switzerland
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How likely are you to be burgled in Switzerland and how can you avoid it?
Surveillance cameras a good crime deterrent. Photo: Pixabay

While Switzerland is generally a very safe country, that doesn’t mean crime, including burglary, doesn’t happen.


The burglary rate in Switzerland in 2022 rose by 14.6 percent compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) — an increase for the first time in a decade.

During that year, the most recent data available, 35,732 burglaries and theft by secretly entering an unsecured place were registered by the police across Switzerland.

All categories combined, a total of 174,702 thefts were reported in 2022 (+17.4 percent over the previous year), and virtually all types of theft are affected by this increase, FSO said

In detail, the increase is observed for unspecified thefts (+23.4 percent), pickpocketing (+20.6 ), thefts from/in a vehicle (+17.4 percent), as well as home break-ins.

Some 46,385 vehicle thefts were also recorded by the police in 2022, an increase of 15.9 percent compared to the previous year. As for electric bikes,14,153 were stolen, which represents an increase of 58.7 percent..

However, your risk of being victim of theft is not the same throughout the country.

Some cantons are more theft-prone than others

FSO data shows that the frequency of burglaries varies depending on the region, with more cases often reported in cantons with larger populations and cities.

The five cantons that saw the most burglaries reported included:

Zurich: 6,935
Vaud: 3,955
Geneva: 3,334
Aargau: 3,145
Bern: 3,126

And here are figures for other cantons: Basel-City: 1,019; Basel-Country: 861; Solothurn: 1,052; Luzern: 1,027; Uri: 49; Schwyz 225; Obwalden: 65; Nidwalden: 50; Glarus: 101; Zug: 268; Fribourg: 264; Schaffhausen: 158; Appenzell-Ausserrhoden: 68; Appenzell-Innerrhoden: 15 (the lowest rate in Switzerland); St.Gallen: 1;081; Graubünden: 553; St.Gallen: 1,181; Thurgau: 656; Ticino: 596; Valais: 864; Neuchâtel: 615; and Jura: 197. 

READ ALSO: Which parts of Switzerland have the highest (and lowest) violent crime rates?


How do you protect your home and possessions against theft?
Switzerland's Crime and Criminal Justice portal lists seven ways that are likely to deter burglars:
Lock the door

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people leave their homes unlocked.

This is a bad idea not only because criminals can easily access your property, but also because your insurance may not pay for the damages if the house was not secured.

Close the windows

This too, seems obvious, but many thieves enter the house through open windows. So make sure they are safely closed when you leave the house, and also at night.
Protect your valuables

Place all your valuables in a safe at home or, better yet, in a safe deposit box at a bank.

If you keep them at home, opt for a combination lock, otherwise “a burglar will always assume that there is a spare key somewhere hidden in the house. He will search for it and mess up your entire apartment; and in many cases even find it!"


Keep your eyes open

If you have no video camera at the front door, then use your spyhole.  If somebody is at your door that you don’t expect or know, then don’t let them in.

If they say they want to come in an official capacity, ask for their ID.

Also, don’t install a fake camera — burglars will know it is not real.

Install light timers

Although most burglaries are committed during the day, a house that stays completely dark in the evening sends the signal to the burglar that nobody’s home — a perfect time for them to strike.

Therefore, timers that automatically and irregularly light up some of the rooms are a sensible anti-theft measure.

Install an alarm

This too can be an efficient burglar deterrent, provided it is installed correctly.

For extra protection, can install a contact on every door and every window, and you can equip your entire home with motion detectors.

Call in security experts

Security experts from the police often advise residents which measures are the right ones for their home.

Contact your local police department to see whether they offer this service, or can refer you to someone who does.

Hopefully you will never need to do this,  but if you need to report a burglary, call the police emergency number, 117, which is called throughout Switzerland.


What about theft insurance?

In a country that has an insurance for all kinds of disasters — including damage to your car inflicted by weasels — there is no specific policy in the event of theft.

However, your household liability insurance policy covers losses resulting from burglary up to the insured sum. Acts of vandalism relating to burglary are also covered.

READ ALSO: What is Swiss liability insurance and do you need it?



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Gary Karr 2024/03/05 19:20
I read the email subject line as "Where in Switzerland has the most burgers ..." and I must say I am not as excited now as I was for a minute or two when I read that. Not that this piece isn't useful, but it is also not as fun.

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