Rates of shoplifting in Switzerland reach 13-year high

Rates of shoplifting in Switzerland reach 13-year high

A new study released by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed that rates of shoplifting in Switzerland rose by 20 percent in 2022. Swiss supermarkets reported losing hundreds of millions of francs to the crime, which has been spurred by high inflation.

Rates of shoplifting rise by 20 percent in Switzerland

Last year, 19.871 people were arrested by Swiss police or reported by stores for shoplifting - the highest number recorded since 2009 and 20 percent more than in 2021. It’s important to note that the emergency services only record shoplifting as an offence if goods worth 300 francs or more are stolen, so the actual rate of shoplifting is likely much higher.

This wave of theft is having a significant impact on retailers, with stores telling Blick that hundreds of millions of francs have been swindled - a spokesperson for Migros confirmed that shoplifting costs the company around 300 million francs a year. Unlike the rest of the world where cheese is the most commonly stolen item, meat and electronics are the most popular items to shoplift in Switzerland.

Thieves use self-scanning machines to get away with crime

20 Minuten added that shoplifters usually use self-scanning machines to try and get away with their crime as people's “inhibitions” towards breaking the law are lower when not faced with a member of staff. What's more, if caught, ne'er-do-wells can simply say that they “forgot” to scan something.

To explain the extent of the problem, Migros noted one incident in the Glatt centre in Canton Zurich in July 2022, when a 31-year-old lady tried to steal 1.323 francs worth of electronics, toys, meat and other items by only scanning nine products worth 40 francs. She was later fined 3.150 francs by a court in Zurich

Swiss supermarkets to invest in combating shoplifting

The FSO noted that the recent drop in purchasing power and inflation could be to blame for the rise in shoplifting - the UK, which has an inflation rate more than double that of Switzerland, reported a 16 percent rise in theft in 2022. There is also a suggestion that shoplifting could be becoming more of an “accepted” crime in the alpine nation, with a recent survey by finding that one in 10 men and more than one in 10 women have admitted to stealing something in the past.

In response to the high rate of theft, every supermarket questioned by Blick confirmed that they would be investing more in security measures like scanning gates, surveillance cameras and more workers. Florim Abazi, head of Prime Security, told the newspaper that companies have already invested a lot into combating the problem, with some stores even using “shop detectives” to stop would-be thieves.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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