Offences against property represent a large part of offences under the Swiss Criminal Code. Damage to property is one of the most common crimes in this area and, in the majority of cases, in connection with theft.
Key figures 2018
|Unlawful appropriation (art. 137)||3 027||21,0%|
|Misappropriation (art. 138)||1 991||87,7%|
|Theft (excl. vehicle theft and shoplifting) (art. 139)||112 353||14,9%|
|Vehicle theft (art. 139)||41 796||4,2%|
|Shoplifting (art. 139)||16 268||85,8%|
|Violent robbery (art. 140)||1 644||45,3%|
|Removal of property (art. 141)||478||84,7%|
|Unauthorised obtaining of data (art. 143)||1 151||27,3%|
|Unauthorised access to a
data processing system (art. 143 bis)
|Criminal damage (excl. theft) (art. 144)||42 243||20,6%|
|Criminal damage plus theft (art. 144)||38 101||16,9%|
|Fraud (art. 146)||16 319||50,5%|
|Computer fraud (art. 147)||5 583||31,1%|
|Making off from a hotel, restaurant
or bar without payment (art. 149)
|Obtaining a service without
payment (art. 150)
|Extortion (art. 156)||958||25,9%|
|Criminal mismanagement (art. 158)||314||94,3%|
|Misuse of salary deductions (art. 159)||117||94,9%|
|Handling stolen goods (art. 160)||1 300||97,4%|
|Fraudulent bankruptcy and fraud
against seizure (art. 163)
|Disposal of seized assets (art. 169)||349||97,4%|
|Other offences against property||2 367||68,9%|
|Total property||288 655||23,2%|
Source: FSO - Police crime statistics (PCS) 2018
Strictly speaking, theft is only recognised in law under Article 139 of the Swiss Criminal Code. However, the police make a distinction between different types of theft depending on how and where it takes place.
|Burglary (Art. 139)||30 383||16,3%||2 971|
|Theft by secretly entering
an unsecured place (Art. 139)
|8 488||17,3%||1 313|
|Shoplifting (Art. 139)||16 268||85,8%||9 574|
|Snatch theft (Art. 139)||918||15,5%||172|
|Pickpocketing (Art. 139)||13 283||4,6%||592|
|Theft by false pretences (Art. 139)||3 061||19,1%||495|
|Vehicle larceny (Art. 139)||5 467||11,5%||314|
|Theft from/ out of a vehicle (Art. 139)||6 673||12,7%||685|
|Theft from a co-tenant (Art. 139)||1||100,0%||1|
|Total thefts (excl. vehicle theft)||128 621||23,9%||19 446|
Source: FSO - Police crime statistics (PCS) 2018
Note: Although shoplifting is a particularly common offence, various cantons have a simplified procedure whereby shops can directly transfer cases of shoplifting to the judicial system (e.g. Prefect). This means that the real number of shoplifting offences is higher than that recorded by the police.
Information on vehicle theft by vehicle type is available in the police crime statistics’ annual report (see pages "Police" in French and German).
Burglaries by time committed, 2015
When the clocks go back at the end of October, there is always talk of an increased risk of burglary. Burglars try to avoid any contact with their victims. In fact in winter it is easy to tell whether a house or apartment is occupied: if no lights are on, one can usually assume that nobody is at home. An analysis of data from the 2015 police crime statistics shows this effect in the following graphics.
An increase in burglaries in the autumn and winter months can be seen, but only for burglaries in private homes. Private and public locations also differ considerably with regard to the time of day and the individual months in which break-ins are committed.
The total number of burglaries committed in 2015 fluctuates between 3000 and 4000 per month. In the summer months, the number of burglaries remains at a relatively low level. From September this number increases and only falls again from March. No distinct cluster of breakins can be observed during the summer holiday period. This pattern, however, is almost exclusively created by burglaries in private locations. The number of burglaries in public places is relatively constant throughout the year.
Burglaries in private locations in 2015 by month and hour
If the time of the burglary or its discovery are taken into account (cf. notes on methodology below), a very different pattern emerges for the individual months. There is little variation between months for burglaries occurring at night or during the day until early evening. A considerable increase can be seen, however, in burglaries that take place from 6pm in the months of November, December, January and February. The number of evening burglaries in the months of October and March is also higher than between April and September, although to a lesser extent.
The amount of daylight certainly plays a role here. When the clocks go back at the end of October, dusk falls earlier, creating ideal conditions for burglars: darkness and an empty house.
Burglaries in public locations in 2015 by month and hour
A quite different picture can be seen with regard to burglaries in public locations such as shops, offices and workshops etc. There is little monthly variation in the time of burglaries. The distinct cluster of burglaries at 7am can be explained by the fact that burglaries in public locations often go undetected until the next day. The police then indicate the detection time as the time of the crime (cf. notes on methodology below).
Notes on methodology
Private locations is defined by the “four walls”, i.e. private spaces that are inaccessible to other people. A location is considered to be public when, in principle, various people have access to it (this also includes for example the stairwell or a shared laundry room in a multi-family house).
The precise time of a burglary is often difficult to establish. In such cases, the police register either a period of time (the end of this period is used for the present analysis), an estimated time that the crime took place or the time that the crime was detected. This explains why most burglaries are registered as occurring at 6pm or 7pm, whereas a typical evening burglary can also take place before this time.
All crimes committed in 2015 were used for the analysis. The police crime statistics annual report is based on the end date (date on which the police finish processing a case).
Information on robbery and the instrument used is available in the police crime statistics’ annual report (see pages "Police" in French and German).
Statistical sources and concepts