Lugano - the safest city in Switzerland

23.5 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants were recorded in 2021 - Double in Lucerne, almost triple in Geneva - Concerns about the increase in domestic violence – Driving offences are increasing, while burglaries and are in decline
Lugano: turismo autunnale. Nella foto Piazza della Riforma e tavolini da bar all'aperto, turisti al sole. Ristorazione. © Ti-Press / Francesca Agosta


Lugano remains the safest city in Switzerland and has the lowest number of crimes recorded. In Ticino's main city, 24.7 crimes were recorded per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021 (+1.3 percent compared to 2020) versus 36.3 in St. Gallen and 36.8 in Winterthur. Other Swiss cities fall behind. For example, Lucerne, ranked fourth, registering 50 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants. Lausanne 54, Zurich 56, Geneva 64, Biel 79, Basel and Bern 76.

A record, that Lugano, displayed proudly during a meeting with the press organized to unveil the 2021 activity by City Police Commander Roberto Torrente and Security Department Head Karin Valenzano Rossi. A press meeting that incidentally took place a few hours following the stabbing in Dante Square. 


Domestic Violence

Lugano also excels throughout Switzerland when considering the number of traffic accidents. There are 15.4 per 10,000 inhabitants as compared, for example, with 27.3 in Zurich and 29.6 in Lausanne. And there has been a steady drop in robberies in the city for several years, which have virtually halved in a decade." However, one slightly worrying figure," stressed Valenzano Rossi, "concerns the number of crimes that can be attributed to domestic violence. Police have had to intervene 47 times on their own authority during the year (+74 percent)."There had been 27 cases in 2020 and 43 in 2019. "An increase, that can be seen in all Swiss towns”. Across the Canton of Lugano, there were 96 cases of domestic violence in 2021 (68 in 2020), whereas in Ticino the figure amounted to 209.


Drink Driving

Police noted an increase in driving offenses (2,397 compared to 1,609 in 2020 and 1,959 in 2019). And the same applied to alcohol checks. Last year 317 people were caught driving above 0.4. In 2020 there were 202 (but the year was also marked by a lockdown period) and 263 in 2019. Significant growth.


Youth and prevention

The police continue to keep an eye on behaviour of adolescents. Several incidents have emerged throughout the pandemic that have been widely reported in the press: gatherings, brawls, and assaults.

"The youth, however, are healthy," said Valenzano Rossi. There is a hint of anticipation. The City in the upcoming weeks would like to promote a prevention and awareness project. "We have noticed," the head of the department explained, "that a part of adults, post-pandemic, are no longer adapted to noise and having a lively city. We would like to address them by asking for a little understanding. But then we would also like to appeal to young people by asking them to respect the needs of those who would like quieter streets."


Video surveillance

Chief Torrente then reviewed the video surveillance systems installed throughout the city, which were increasingly being used by the prosecuting authority. There were 488 (100 more than in 2020) inquiries carried out thanks to the images captured by the cameras placed downtown. A security tool that has become even more useful to the Public Ministry since, specifically at the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the City has raised the number of days of retention of footage to 100.


"No to single police."

Valenzano Rossi then repeated the scepticism (see CdT of 11/5) of the PolCom and of the other Lugano structured police forces about the idea of a unique policing in Ticino. The Town hall, however, reaffirmed the need for reforms.