Security Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 749–771 | Cite as

Nothing is permanent except change: A case study of crime displacement in Switzerland

  • Lionel Grossrieder
  • Julien Chopin
  • Manon Jendly
  • Thibault Genessay
  • Simon Baechler
Original Article


This article presents the methodological process and the main findings of a research on crime displacement between two cantons (states) of Switzerland from 2009 to 2012. Two analytical axes have been considered: displacement of crime incidents on the one hand, and displacement of offenders for offences against the Swiss Criminal Code on the other hand. Data were provided by police statistics of the two cantons involved and by a regional crime intelligence database, supplemented by documentary analysis, interviews and field observations. Measures of crime displacement were realized with variation in crime rates, difference-in-differences estimation and weighted displacement quotient applied to a selection of offences. Findings suggest the presence of a regional crime displacement of burglary, pickpocketing, simple theft and break-in theft in vehicle between 2011 and 2012. Displacement of offenders seems to follow this trend as well and highlights a small proportion of inter-regional offenders, but who are extremely prolific. These results and the study of displacement in general shed light on the effect of crime reduction strategies and provide many prospective pathways, such as the strengthening of inter-regional collaborations between the police forces in a federal State, and the systematic use of crime intelligence to reduce mobile criminal activities.


crime displacement situational approaches weighted displacement quotient crime analysis difference-in-differences estimation 



This article is based on data from the Criminal Mobility Analysis GE-VD Project, supported by the cantonal police forces of Vaud, Switzerland. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the cantonal police forces of Vaud. The authors would like to acknowledge the help of the cantonal police forces of Vaud and Geneva and the municipal police forces of Lausanne for the access to data and support, as well as the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no 156287). Special acknowledgment is given to Mrs Nil Lara Coskun and Laura Rossi, who are crime analysts at the cantonal police forces of Vaud, and to Stéphanie Loup and Marie Gauthier, for their writing skills.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Grossrieder
    • 1
  • Julien Chopin
    • 1
  • Manon Jendly
    • 1
  • Thibault Genessay
    • 1
  • Simon Baechler
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Criminal Justice, University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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