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Who dunnit?

Stats office issues conviction ranking by nationality

West Africans, Dominicans, North Africans and Turks had the highest conviction rates among foreigners residing in Switzerland in 2014, according to a breakdown of national crime statistics. Overall, crime remains at its lowest level since 2009, however.

For the first time the Federal Statistical Office has provided details on the nationalities of people convicted for various crimes in Switzerland, both long-term residents and those without a permit.

Citizens with a B (initial) or C (permanent) residency permit with the highest average conviction rates in 2014 came from West Africa (29 convictions per 1,000 nationals living in Switzerland), Dominican Republic (22 convictions), North Africa (19) and Turkey (12), the report published on Tuesday revealed.

The conviction rate for Swiss nationals in 2014 was 2.7 per 1,000 inhabitants, behind citizens from Spain (4.6), Italy (4.1) and France (3.8), but ahead of citizens from Germany (2.5).

Among 18-29 year-olds, the highest criminal conviction rates were registered among men from West Africa (78 per 1,000 residents), Dominican Republic (65) and Brazil (35).

In absolute terms, citizens from the former Yugoslavia and Albania registered the highest number of convictions in 2014 (2,064), but their conviction rate was average (9 per 1,000 inhabitants).

The statistics office did not calculate criminal conviction rates for foreigners in Switzerland without a B or C permit. For that category, people from Romania had the highest absolute number of penal convictions (1,718), ahead of citizens from North Africa (1,695) and the former Yugoslavia and Albania (1,314). They are followed by France (879), West Africa (793), former Soviet states (698), Italy (379) and Germany (372).

For citizens from West Africa and the Balkans, statistics were grouped together due to difficulties in analysing individual states separately, the statistics office said.

Falling crime

This new ranking is set against an overall backdrop of falling crime. The latest figures for 2015 published in March 2016 show that crime fell by over 7% compared to the year before. The numbers of both Swiss and foreigners accused of crimes continues to decline. Just over 77,000 crimes were committed on Swiss soil. This was the lowest number since 2009 and includes both Swiss and foreign law breakers.

Statistics released in August of this year also showed a decline in the number of overall offenders serving prison sentences in Switzerland, and an increase in the numbers of female prisoners and those with a Swiss passport.

Whereas 9,463 people served prison terms in Switzerland in 2014, there were 9,201 last year – a decrease of about 3%. Most of them (3,548) are between 25 and 34 years old. The number of female prisoners increased by nearly 6%, from 734 to 776. There was also a slight increase in the number of Swiss prisoners compared with foreign: up 0.5%, from 2,927 to 2,942.

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