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Safety in Switzerland: Which areas do Zurich residents avoid at night?

Zurich is known as one of the world’s safest cities - but a new poll shows residents still avoid some areas at night.

Police after an incident in the centre of Zurich.

Zurich is known as one of the safest cities in Europe – and perhaps even the world. 

However, Zurich residents say there are still some areas they try to avoid at night. 

How safe is Zurich? 

The Economist’s Safe Cities Index ranked Zurich in the top 20 safest cities in the world over the past three years

Zurich featured alongside Stockholm, Amsterdam and Copenhagen over the past three years, with Asian and Australian cities also ranking highly. 

In terms of the ranking’s individual categories, Zurich did particularly well in health security. The category covers indicators including access to healthcare and social care, and the provision of a healthy urban environment including traffic management and green space. 

The Swiss city also ranked strongly for infrastructure security, a category generally driven by affluence, according to the report authors.

What about those shadowy places?

While International agencies might rank Zurich highly for safety, Zurich residents’ also feel their home city is relatively safe. 

A study commissioned by Zurich city police found that 98 percent of residents feel very safe or fairly safe in the city during the day. 

It is at night however where things take a (slight) turn. 

Almost one in five (19 percent) said they feel slightly or very unsafe at night in Zurich. 

Almost half (47 percent) said they avoid certain places at night due to safety reasons. This was slightly lower than in 2016, when 51 percent said they avoid certain places at night. 

So where do they avoid then? 

According to the study, the people of Zurich feel particularly uncomfortable in the Langstrasse district, the city’s party strip and red light district. 

The respondents also said District 4 (Aussersihl) and District 5 (Industriequartier) made them feel uneasy. 

In addition, those surveyed said they try to avoid parks and train stations at night, along with “dark places”. 

The central areas of Zurich. Photo: Wikicommons

What are they worried about? 

According to the survey, there’s a relatively wide set of concerns. 

Those surveyed said problems caused by drunks, drug dealers, young people and foreigners concerned them the most, while 10 percent also said they were worried about Zurich traffic. 

The study also found that Zurich residents have a high level of trust in the police, while 91 percent feel that the police’s efforts in protecting the public are either sufficient or somewhat sufficient. 

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For members


‘3,000 francs a month?’: Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

On Sunday September 25th, while the Swiss will decide on three national issues in a national referendum, Zurich voters will weigh in on a pilot project involving the recurring issue of universal basic income.

'3,000 francs a month?': Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

The idea of the government handing out a set amount of money to its citizens is not a novel concept in Switzerland: in 2016, a referendum made Switzerland the first country in the world to vote at national level on this issue.

But 76.9 percent of voters rejected this initiative because they could not see how it could be funded without increasing taxes.

Some left-leaning districts in Zurich, however, voted in favour of the universal basic income (UBI), and while nothing came of it on the national level at the time, the city will re-vote on this issue on Sunday.

READ MORE: Zurich to roll out universal basic income pilot project

While the exact details are still muddy, voters will decide whether to offer “free” money on monthly basis to 500 residents chosen for the pilot project.

Though the amount is not yet determined, it could likely be between 2,500 and 3,000 francs a month.

Contrary to what had been proposed at the federal level in 2016, the part paid by the city government will vary according to income from work.

For the political left, which launched the proposal, UBI “represents a possible answer to current challenges such as automation, poverty and the climate crisis”, the group says on its website.

Among the opponents, the municipal council “believes that paid work is the most important element to ensure the livelihood of individuals and at the same time create social prosperity”.

Does this proposal have a chance of success?

Based on the outcome of the national vote, probably not.

On a municipal level too, such initiatives have already failed in Bern and Lucerne.

However, as Swiss media points out, “Zurich is very left”, so perhaps UBI can get more of a boost there.

As far as the national referendum on September 25th is concerned, this article explains what issues will be voted on:

Pensions, farming and tax: What issues will the Swiss vote on this month?