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Migrants in Switzerland; Swiss police investigation

Zurich police first to obscure ethnicity of criminals to ‘curb’ xenophobia

Zurich cantonal police will officially become the first police force in Switzerland to not list the nationality of perpetrators in official communications in oder to curb "xenophobia".

Published: November 9, 2017, 11:28 am

    This was announced by city council and security chief Richard Wolff (60) from the alternative list at a press conference this week.

    The order will take effect immediately.

    Announcing the measure, City Councillor Richard Wolff who is in charge of the city’s security department said that detailing the nationality of alleged criminals is “discriminatory”, “provokes resentment” and “merely supplies food to xenophobic people”.

    Wolff says that focusing on a suspect’s nationality “obscures the true causes of crime” and cites “poverty, low levels of education [and] war trauma” as examples.

    SVP National Council member Alfred Heer called the Zurich city council’s decision a bad joke. “He has made an absolutely crazy decision,” said Heer. Citizens’ distrust of public authorities would only increase with this order. “This order is a typical communist answer to the question of how to solve the problem of migrant crime: it is simply ignore that such a problem exists at all,” said Heer.

    Susanne Brunner, VP of the SVP Zurich, also slammed the decision, saying: “The Left Demands Transparency Everywhere – Now it is in police reports to renounce the naming of the ethnic origin.

    “That’s wrong. The population is entitled to receive this information. We are now examining how we can ensure that this continues to happen,” she added.

    In 2015, the city council commissioned an examination into whether and how the media reports could obscure the nationality of alleged perpetrators. The impulse had been submitted by leftist SP politician Min Li Marti and Samuel Dubno of the GLP.

    The regular mention of nationality in police reports is discriminatory because it suggests that the offense can be explained with the nationality of the offender, the city council said , justifying their decision.

    “By stating the nationality, it is suggested that the deed can be explained to some extent. But this only obscures what the root causes of criminal activity are,” Wolff said.

    He said poverty, a low level of education, stigmatization in Switzerland, tests of courage, lack of social control, war traumas or drug use could explain crime. “The naming of nationality is therefore a pseudo transparency that hides the causes of crime,” says Wolff.

    “Those who read about criminal foreigners in the media estimate the proportion of foreigners in the criminals on average higher than they really are,” said Wolff.

    “We never wanted to cover up anything,” said Min Li Marti, expressing satisfaction with Richard Wolff’s approach. “I did not expect the city council to take account of the concerns in our proposal and I am therefore very pleased about this decision,” said the National Councilor.

    “We do not want to hide anything”: SP national councilor Min Li Marti insisted.

    In the canton of Solothurn, the SVP launched an initiative in 2011 calling for the names of perpetrators to be included in police reports. The voters had clearly accepted it.

    There was a significant rise from 2011 to 2012 in burglaries and thefts committed by asylum seekers and those without residency permits.

    By 2012, more than a thousand people from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya, mostly young, male asylum-seekers staying at centres in cantons Zurich, Aargau and St Gallen, were charged with offences by the Zurich cantonal police. Between 2009-2012 the total number of investigated cases involving North Africans had tripled.

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    • Here in America, we know, if they don’t mention ethnicity, the perp isn’t White. Don’t be surprised when the Swiss learn to read between the lines.

      • Daisy

        We in Switzerland have already learned to read between the lines.

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