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Theft / theft by trickery

Theft / theft by trickery

Out and about

Pickpockets mainly strike where there are a lot of people and they can easily approach their victims under the protection of the crowd. For example: at railway stations and at public transport stops, in trains, on buses and on trams or on boats, in shopping centres or also at major events like sports events or concerts.
Pickpockets usually do not act alone, they work in groups and try to distract their victims’ attention from the theft, for example by jostling or asking for directions.


  • Carry as little cash as possible with you.
  • Do not let strangers look in your wallet/purse.
  • Never let your wallet/purse out of your hand when paying.
  • Wherever possible pay with a bank card, credit card or a Postcard.
  • Always keep your PIN code and (credit) card separately.
  • Always cover the keypad of the cash machine with your hand when entering your PIN code.
  • Put the money you have just taken from the cash machine into your wallet/purse immediately and do not count it openly in front of other people.
  • Distribute articles of value, pieces of identity and your mobile phone to different closable inside pockets of your clothing.
  • Carry your hand or shoulder bag closed on the front of your body.
  • Things can be stolen easily from rucksacks.
  • Use a neck pouch or money belt worn under your clothing. Never leave bags and luggage unattended.

At the house or apartment door
Theft by trickery at the door is a crime often reported to the police. Older and old people in particular are often victims of thefts by trickery. The perpetrators deceive their victims in order to gain access to their homes.
In order to be let in they deceive their potential victims with:
  • an emergency;
  • a particular position (e.g. a representative from an authority);
  • a particular position or service (e.g. a workman);
  • a personal relationship with the victim or his environment.

Frequently faked emergencies are:
  • Asking for a glass of water because they do not feel well (e.g. pregnancy)
  • Leaving behind a message for the apparently absent neighbours (here they ask for a pen and paper and say they need to write on a table)
  • Checking the apartment for possible water damage because of a broken pipe in the house
  • Using the telephone (e.g. car breakdown, accident, mobile phone battery empty)
  • Using the toilet –
  • Putting on a baby’s nappy

Your car
Thieves also target your valuables in the car: they steal car radios, navigation devices, mobile phones and other valuable items. If valuables are visible, they break the windows and take the items. Car theft is a very common offence. So always lock your car and store valuables so that they cannot be seen.


Breaking into a car
  • Always take all valuables with you (if possible).
  • The car boot is no use for safely storing valuables.
  • Close the windows and the sun roof.
  • When you leave your vehicle always lock the doors and boot.
  • Take your pieces of identity (car documentation) with you.
  • Also lock your car in closed garages.
  • Use a lockable roof luggage rack.
Vehicle theft
  • Take out the ignition key and lock the steering wheel when you leave your car.
  • Fitting an alarm system can be worthwhile.
  • You can also have an engraving put on the windows of your car.
  • For car radios and rims there are special security systems: find out about these when you are making your purchase.

Your bicycle
Your bicycle is also a popular target for thieves. So: always lock your bike. With a solid chain and a good lock or another locking system you minimise the risk of your bicycle being stolen. To make sure your bicycle cannot simply be carried away or loaded onto a vehicle, it should always be locked together with a solid object.


  • A security lock belongs to every bicycle.
  • Put a chain around the wheels and the frame.
  • Attach this to an object securely in the ground (e.g. fence, post).
  • Bicycles can also be locked together in groups.
  • Keep your bicycle in a closed area if possible.
  • Make a note of the brand and the frame and vignette number.
  • If you are transporting your bicycle on a car, use a secure locking system here too.

Created: 22.11.2010 | Changed: 26.11.2010


The swiss weapon law has changed, new rules about soft air guns and other weapons.