Statistics show decline in murder rate in Switzerland

Effective deterrents? The overall number of murders continues to fall. Keystone

The period 2009-2016 saw an almost two-fifths reduction in the annual homicide rate in Switzerland, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) announced on Monday. Attempted murder is nevertheless on the rise.

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The average number of homicides annually during the period was 49; a drop of 38% compared to the previous period of analysis of 2000-2004, said the FSO.

The figure for annual attempted murders went up 24% to 172.

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Most attacks are carried out by somebody with a close or very close relation to the victim, the FSO reported. For the period 2009-2016, one-third of cases involved people related by blood or marriage, while a quarter involved acquaintances. Just 27% of victims were attacked by a total stranger.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, many murders take place in the home. Here, women were generally the victims, men the perpetrators. Outside domestic environments, however, men made up 80% of victims.

The OFS also reported that murders carried out using guns became rarer. They made up 20% of cases, compared to 34% previously. Knives were the most common murder weapons.

Looking at the longer-term picture, the trend is also somewhat positive: the number of homicides per 100,000 people in Switzerland dropped from 1.5 in 1983 to about 0.5 in 2016.

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