Thursday, November 1, 2012

How careful should you be going to Switzerland

Crime in Switzerland

Unlike many other European countries, Switzerland is a very safe country to live in or visit.  Violent crime including assault and robbery is virtually unheard of in Switzerland. The infrequent violent crime that does occur, is usually directed at expatriates who are living in Switzerland.

However, petty crime such as pick pocketing is known to occur and is usually directed at foreign tourists. Prime pick pocketing areas include busy tourist attractions in all of the major towns of Switzerland including Zurich, Geneva and Basel as well as train and bus stations. Be especially careful during the tourist season and in high traffic areas such as the International Festival in Geneva and other places that attract large crowds. Late night trains where tired passengers often fall asleep are a favorite of pick pockets.The rules are the same in Switzerland as elsewhere.
  • Don't become alone at night in dark places, 
  • Don't carry your wallet in the open
  • Don't carry more cash that you need that day
Be a smart traveler.

Drugs in Switzerland

Hard drugs including heroin and cocaine are completely illegal in Switzerland and being caught either in possession of these drugs or selling them, holds stiff penalties almost certainly including prison time. The police attitude towards softer drugs such as hashish and cannabis is more ambiguous. While possessing or selling these drugs is technically a crime, police often turn a blind eye to discreet use of such drugs and prosecution for being in possession of small quantities of these drugs is not likely.

Police in Switzerland

The emergency telephone number in Switzerland is 117. Call it to report a crime. Police in Switzerland are either federal or local. Your first response will be local police reporting to the Canton you are in. Swiss federal police are plain clothed officers and only become involved in serious crimes that go beyond Canton level. 

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