American arrested over stabbing attacks in Zurich

Swiss police are looking for people who witnessed the stabbings, which took place at two different locations in Zurich on Wednesday morning.

American arrested over stabbing attacks in Zurich
Zurich police are looking for witnesses of the stabbings. Photo by MICHELE LIMINA / AFP

A 38-year-old American citizen reportedly stabbed two people in districts 5 and 1 one hour apart on Wednesday morning, fleeing after each attack, Zurich police said in a press release.

The first victim, whose injuries were severe enough to require emergency surgery, was stabbed at around 9.45 am on Hardturmstrasse, in the area of the VBZ tram stop Fischerweg.

The second attack occurred on Schweizergasse, near the Pestalozzi facility.

The police didn’t specify what the suspect used to attack his victims, just saying it was a “stabbing weapon.”

Based on witness descriptions, the suspect, whose identity beyond his nationality and age has not been released, was apprehended soon after the second attack and is now under investigation for “serious violent crime.”

It is also not known at this point whether the alleged attacker is a tourist or resident, whether he knew his victims, or what his motives were.

The police are asking anyone who witnessed either of the attacks to call them at (058) 648-4848.

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Which parts of Switzerland have the highest (and lowest) violent crime rates?

A new report sheds light on Switzerland on where the most violent crime is being reported. Here's a look at the affected areas.

Which parts of Switzerland have the highest (and lowest) violent crime rates?

New crime data released on Monday by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) shows an increase in certain violent crimes in some regions of Switzerland.

For instance, incidences of violence reported in 2022, in particular serious bodily harm and rape, have gone up by more than 16.6 percent compared to the previous year.

In fact in total there were 1,942 serious violent crimes registered last year alone, including homicide, grievous bodily harm, rape and robbery.

While the number of homicides (42) remained stable in comparison to 2021, reports of rapes increased by 14.5 percent and cases of serious bodily injury by 17.2 percent.

And for the first time in a decade, 14.6 percent more robberies were reported to police.

This hike encompasses burglaries in all categories— including break-ins, thefts of vehicles, and pickpocketing.

Overall, a total of 86.693 people were arrested for a crime by Swiss police in 2022, according to the report.

While these statistics don’t shed light on the reasons for the increase,  they do show which parts of Switzerland have been most crime-ridden.

Basel-City at the top

This is certainly not the kind of publicity the tiny canton wants, but statistics speak for themselves: both in terms of violent crime and burglaries, Basel-City holds the unenviable record as Switzerland’s most dangerous canton.

In the category of violent crime, Basel registered 13.9 incidences for 1,000 residents.

A view of Basel. Photo: Pixabay

As a comparison, Switzerland’s two other cantons with large cities — Geneva and Zurich — reported 7.2 and 6.8 offences per 1,000, respectively, in this category.

Interestingly though, Basel-Country has a low rate of only 3 cases in 1,000.

The safest cantons, on the other hand, are Schwyz and Uri, with a low score of 2.4 violent crimes per population of 1,000.

When it comes to robberies, a distant second to Basel’s 54.8 score is Geneva (37.9), Solothurn (23.1), and Neuchâtel (22). In Zurich, that number is 19.5.

As to where where your possessions are safest, Nidwald has fewest thefts in Switzerland (5.7), followed — as in cases of violent infractions — by Uri (5.9) and Schwyz (6).

READ MORE: What you can be fined for in Basel if you don’t follow the rules

Now let’s put all this in perspective

Reading about these latest statistics probably doesn’t fill you with confidence regarding your personal security.

But you should not worry — not only do these figures show that crime rate is limited in scope, but other statistics also indicate that, in comparison with other countries, Switzerland is very safe.

Depending on the kind of metrics used, Switzerland consistently ranks among the least risky nations in the world, both in terms of personal safety and overall crime rate.