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Local News Summary of November, 8th

  • Guilty verdict for Uber driver at Baselland criminal court
  • Optimistic economic situation in Northwestern Switzerland
  • Soon 50% fewer burglaries in Basel? Zurich sets the pace with Hollywood-style software 

Guilty verdict for Uber driver at Baselland criminal court

An Uber-pop driver was on Tuesday fined and given a conditional sentence at Baselland criminal court. The court found that the 40-year-old driver had operated illegally as a taxi driver by taking almost 32,000 Swiss francs from paying customers while travelling around 13,000 kilometres over a nine-month period in 2016.

The judge, sitting alone, assessed the earnings of the driver and the costs as illegal because he had neither a permit to run a commercial business nor a taxi permit. This was evidenced by the lack of a tachometer in the car.

The trial court fined the man with 500 francs as well as a conditional sentence of 70 francs a day for a 60-day period. The defendant argued unsuccessfully that journeys undertaken by the American taxi company were operating in a legal “grey area”, and should not be forbidden or punishable.

Optimistic economic situation in Northwestern Switzerland

Northwestern Switzerland will belong to the most dynamic regions in the country in the next few years, thanks to the booming pharmaceutical industry.

That‘s according to the economic survey 2018, which was published on Tuesday by the Basler Kantonalbank.

The Fricktal is expected to experience the most growth, due to the fact that 45% of the entire value of the region relates to the strongly growing pharmaceutical industry. The combination of a weaker Swiss franc and good framework conditions in foreign trade in the coming months could contribute to a new impetus of Swiss exports.

Despite of economic indicators having been fairly good for a while, the GDP-growth in the first half-year period by 1 per cent is disappointing, according to the bank. For 2018, however, a significantly more dynamic expansion of the Swiss GDP by 2,3 per cent is expected. 

Dr Sandro Merino, Chief Investment Officer of Basler Kantonalbank, explained: “The economic growth in the euro-zone has been surprisingly strong in 2017.” Also in the USA, growth is still broadly sustained on a moderate level. The protectionist measurements which have been threatened by Donald Trump have hardly been implemented. 

“World trade and the growth in emerging markets are strengthening. In the next term, the Swiss economy will also benefit from this. The Swiss National Bank is not expected to change its monetary policy due to low inflation rate and ongoing expansive monetary policy in the euro-zone.”

Northwestern Switzerland remains most growing region in Switzerland

The pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow by 4,9 per cent in 2017 thanks to its innovation ability and is expected to even gain more momentum. Demographic factors such as a worldwide growth in population as well as economic factors such as the growing wealth in emerging markets also play a role. 

GDP forecasts of 2,1 per cent in 2017 and 3,5 per cent in 2018 for the region are higher than the forecasts for Switzerland of 1,0 per cent for 2017 and 2,3 per cent in 2018. 

The region which will grow the most will be the Fricktal with growth rates of 3,8 (2017) and 5 per cent (2018), followed by Basel-Stadt with 2,5 (2017) and 3,8 per cent (2018).

Pharmaceutical industry and research and development would push growth also in Baselland, the real growth however is expected to amount to 0,5 (2017) and 1,8 per cent (2018).

Soon 50% fewer burglaries in Basel? Zurich sets the pace with Hollywood-style software

It sounds like the Steven Spielberg film “Minority Report”: The Baselland police uses software which forecasts burglaries with an accuracy of 85 per cent.

Autumn and winter are popular times of the year for burglars since the darker evenings make it easier for them to break into houses and flats without being caught. Now the police are tackling burglars with a forecasting software which can detect when burglaries would happen. The biggest challenge for the canton of Baselland remains break-ins, according to security director Isaac Reber, who presented the criminal statistics earlier this year.

Compared to 2015, burglaries decreased by 200 cases by 2016. However, there were still 1,500 burglaries among the statistics. Isaac Reber put the 38 per cent reduction since 2014 down to the high presence of police officers.

In previous years, police officers stuck little flags onto a map to gain an overview of the crime scenes in an area. If they discovered that burglaries were accumulating in certain streets at certain times, they would drive by the area more often at a walking pace while looking left and right for suspicious activity.

These days, the cantonal police of Baselland uses an intelligent digital aid called “Precobs” (Pre Crime Observation System) to tackle burglaries. Whether there is a direct connection between “Precobs” and the decrease in burglaries in canton Baselland is hard to judge, according to spokesperson Adrian Gaugler. It is clear, however, that the computer software can be used in daily analysis and helps to operate patrols according to the situation.