There were 120 delegates in Geneva for a week for the BRM, and two of them were mugged. One fellow got a fractured jaw and a woman had her purse grabbed. This is not exactly the image one has of Switzerland. Who knows, maybe it’s just a statistical fluke. Maybe ISO delegates look like soft targets. But if I were going to be in Geneva, I’d watch where I walked and be careful about being alone.



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From: Ciaran Lee (Mar 03 2008, at 16:40)

That's surprising, Geneva seems like such a peaceful place. I guess any big city is going to have some louts and thieves though.

I lived in the the Berner Oberland in Switzerland for two winters and never saw a crime. My scariest experience with the law was coming out of a nightclub to find policemen with MP5s standing in the street looking at us - they were there to make sure we were quiet.

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From: John Cowan (Mar 03 2008, at 17:48)

I've lived in New York for thirty years and never actually seen violence in progress either.

It might be interesting to know where the victims came from -- a large part of being safe in a big city is knowing how to act.

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From: David Megginson (Mar 04 2008, at 04:32)

My sympathies to the victims, and I know nothing about how or why they were attacked specifically, but I'm surprised that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often.

I'm always uncomfortable at conferences seeing people pour out of the hotel or conference centre into the street with their badges still swinging from lanyards around their necks, tote bags covered with sponsor logos in their hands, laptop case over the shoulder, tourist maps in their hands, a blicking look of innocent confusion in their eyes, and as a bonus, a cellphone headset or iPod earbuds in their ears so that they won't hear anyone coming up behind them.

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From: len (Mar 04 2008, at 06:06)

Dunno about Switzerland but here in the States, developers put conference centers and hotels in the big cities in downtown areas that have been downward-trending socially because of the land prices. This is usually dressed up a 'revitalization' which means they can get government support for their commercial projects.

As a result, the hotel and convention center will be very nice but if you know the area or take a careful look at the inner road (off interstate) neighborhoods surrounding you, you see you aren't exactly in an upscale part of town. Marginal lifestyles and low wages do the rest. With gas prices skyrocketing and more people being pushed to the margins, expect this to get worse.

If one needs a GPS and a treasure map to work that out, travel to some cities is not advised.

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From: Bob Jolliffe (Mar 04 2008, at 11:31)

I was in Geneva as well as part of the South African delegation. Virtually the first question on everyone's lips was "hows the crime/violence in South Africa?". Now I'm not about to play down some of the problems we have here, but sometimes I get a bit fed up.

I was standing next to the guy with the broken jaw on just one of these occasions. It was kind of ironic. People weren't going on about the violence in Geneva. I guess the injured party would have but he was in a bit of pain. Nobody's broke my jaw in SA (yet).

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From: andré (Mar 05 2008, at 02:28)

https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=61643

You Americans even have a Geneva safety report...!

Being swiss I'm very sorry to read your story.Hope the victim gets well soon.

I've never experienced any violence here (that's statistically meaningless of course).

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March 03, 2008
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