Homicide in Switzerland

Chapter

Abstract

The Swiss chapter on homicide is based on the Swiss Homicide Database (SHD), a nationwide database including premeditated homicidal events in Switzerland between 1980 and 2004. Data are based on autopsy registries from legal medicine institutes and completed by police and court files. The database constitutes a full sample of homicide events in Switzerland for the years 1991–2004, and a partial sample for the years 1980–1990. Information on offender and victim characteristics, circumstances of the homicide as well as legal consequences of the offence are included. Homicide in Switzerland mainly occurs within sentimental partnerships or the family, followed by disputes between friends or acquaintances. Although homicide rates in Switzerland are relatively low in comparison with other European countries, cases of homicide followed by suicide are unusually frequent. Firearms are the modal weapon used in homicide. Swiss rates of gun homicide are among the highest in Europe. The high prevalence of firearm-related casualties is largely due to wide-spread gun availability in Switzerland. As the Swiss military system requires every male Swiss citizen to serve in the militia and to keep his Army equipment at home, prevalence of gun ownership is higher in Switzerland than in other European countries.

Keywords

Europe Stake Fist 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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