Switzerland registered the lowest number of murders (41) since records began in 1982. Compared to 2013, there were 8.5% fewer criminal acts, 16.8% less drugs violations and 4.7% less offences involving the law on foreigners in 2014.
Homicides last year were 29% down on 2013 (56) and well below the highest recorded number in a single year (110 in 1990). The rate of murder in 2014 was 0.5 per 100,000 citizens compared to 1.6 in 1990, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.
The top line figure for all recorded criminal offences (659,117) fell by 9% on 2013, which in turn was 3% lower than 2012. Stripping out drugs and asylum offences, violations against the penal code fell 8.5% to 526,066, against a recent high of 611,903 in 2012.
But to put those figures into perspective, there was talk of a crime epidemic in 2012 after a two-year increase in crime statistics.
And that was just reported crime. In 2011, a separate survey of 2,000 citizens by cantonal justice and police directors found that 10% had been the victim of violence or threats compared to 7.2% in 2004.
“The myth that Switzerland is the safest country in the world, or at least Europe, is over. Forget it,” the criminologist in charge of the report, Martin Killias, told swissinfo.ch at the time.
Nevertheless, reported crime has declined since the peak of 2012, according to official statistics. Virtually every segment of criminal behaviour sank last year, but the steep decline in dugs offences could partially be explained by a change in the law in October 2013 that decriminalised cannabis consumption.
Thefts (not involving vehicles) fell 14.3% to 2009 levels, while actual bodily harm (-8.7%), robbery (-25.9%) and threats (-7.5%) also fell. Sexual crime also declined with 2.6% fewer rapes being recorded.
The main increases in crime were fraud (+2.8%), blackmail (+19.5%) and certificate forgery (+14.4%).