Fraud and online crime on the rise in Switzerland

Reported cases of fraud, including online fraud, jumped 8% last year. © Keystone

While ‘hard’ crimes such as murder remain rare, and numbers of thefts are dropping, fraud and online crimes relating to pornography continued to rise in Switzerland in 2019.

This content was published on March 23, 2020 - 13:55

The total number of infractions of the penal code fell in 2019 for the seventh consecutive year, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO)External link announced on Monday.

Some 432,000 cases were recorded, a drop of 0.2%. This included 36,419 house burglaries, a drop of 50% compared to the record year of 2012. Forty-six murders were reported, of which 29 were related to domestic violence – slightly above the 10-year average of 25. Police documented 679 rapes, 53 more than in 2018.

Online troubles

Cases of fraud jumped by 8%, continuing a trend which has seen such crimes more than double in a decade. This may be linked to a larger rise in online criminality, the FSO reckons, though it adds that it needs more statistics before drawing conclusions.

A total of 17,606 cases of fraud were reported last year.

The Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders of Switzerland (CCPCS), the body providing coordination between the regional police forces, said on Monday that it was working to boost “networking” between different cantonal forces to tackle online crime.

Examples of such infractions include the fraudulent misuse of a computer (5,583 cases in 2019, a rise of 598 relative to 2018) and pornography-related offenses (2,387 cases, a jump of over 50%).

Also on Monday, the Zurich police warnedExternal link against increasing fraud in relation to the coronavirus shutdown in the country. Older people in particular should be wary of people calling to their door and offering to purchase groceries, or to disinfect their apartment. Though acts of solidarity are indeed common in recent weeks, some of these offers are by hucksters, the police said.

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