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Old 11.09.2020, 09:30
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Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Me and my wife moved 4 weeks ago to Zurich. We're now living in Altstetten in a temporary apartment payed by my company. We've already found a permanent apartment and will be moving on the 21st this month.

Today I left for work and she called me saying that a guy knocked on the door, showed a card identifying himself as police and asked for her ID. She was obviously scared and proceeded to comply as requested. He took a note of the ID number on his phone and proceed to knock on the door in front of our apartment. Since no one answered he asked for her key to try to open the other door (it would be bad if it would open!) and then gave it back to her. Let me start by saying that both of us registered in less than 14 days since we arrived and I've already received my B permit. She is just waiting for hers since she registered a week after me (we were still waiting for the marriage certificate from the embassy). We both come from Portugal.

While this was happening she could ear his colleagues knocking on other doors especially in one of them where they insisted and knocked really hard.

After this they stood at the entrance of the building for some time and then left. They came in 2 normal cars (not official police cars) and they didn't have their uniforms.

I lived 33 years in my home country and never saw an action like this by the police. I guess this is not normal right? I'm just asking to get some sense out of this.
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:36
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

They were looking for someone.

It is normal.

I have two cop friends who never wear uniforms, so that is also normal.

Tom
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

I agree this is unusual. Asking to be let into someone elseís apartment is not on.

As Tom suggests they were likely looking for someone, but there are rules they should follow.
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:52
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

For me is ok if Police is looking for someone. I would ask their name, supervisor name, police station and warrant by a judge.

If they are looking for someone they need to have a description and they need to provide you.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:10
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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For me is ok if Police is looking for someone. I would ask their name, supervisor name, police station and warrant by a judge.

If they are looking for someone they need to have a description and they need to provide you.
No, they donít need to provide anything. No, they donít need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously donít know what these two were looking for but itís very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.

One of the typical problems with furnished temporary apartments is illegal prostitution... does the building have a lot of people?
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:17
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Not related, but may be of interest to some...

I remember working from home in my little London terrace house when I heard a LOT of aggressive shouting outside, then a thundering bashing on my front door. I raced to the door, to be met by a chap in full SWAT type gear and pointing a semi automatic gun at me!

He screamed at me "anyone else in the house" and with my reply of no, he shouted an instruction to close my door, lock it, get down and stay away from the windows.

Absolutely bemused, and a little scared, I followed his instructions, but could still hear the shouting happening outside, and could hear them banging on the doors of my neighbours. And then it went quiet.

After what seemed like an age, I peeped out of the window and saw my street full of of heavily armed cops, pointing guns at the house 3 doors away. And a little while later, a more "normal" knock on the door, with a voice telling me it was ok to open up. At which point I could see someone being ushered into a police wagon and a lot of cops carrying plastic bags to another wagon.

The chap there told me they were on the hunt for a known meth dealer, who was operating a lab in that house 3 doors down, and who had recently killed a policeman. That they'd narrowed the location of this person down to our group of houses, and that they were following their normal approach - make a lot of noise, and the innocent people will have curiosity to find out more. The "baddies" will know its the police, and won't open the door.

I've always wondered what would have happened if I wasn't home that day - would I have returned to work to find my door had been bashed open?
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:17
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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No, they donít need to provide anything. No, they donít need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously donít know what these two were looking for but itís very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.

One of the typical problems with furnished temporary apartments is illegal prostitution... does the building have a lot of people?
I would estimate around 50 people.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:22
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I would estimate around 50 people.
I wouldnít worry about it much. The only thing thatís a bit odd is the cop asking if your key fits the neighbors door... but then are not all cops the brightest crayons in the box...
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:28
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I wouldnít worry about it much. The only thing thatís a bit odd is the cop asking if your key fits the neighbors door... but then are not all cops the brightest crayons in the box...
Well if my key opened the other apartment door I would move today to a hotel until I move to the permanent apartment! I also can't understand why he even tried that.

I hope they do find whoever they are looking for. I just don't know the need of having registered my wife ID number.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Since no one answered he asked for her key to try to open the other door (it would be bad if it would open!) and then gave it back to her.
Was the key out of her sight, even for a moment? And has she tried it in your door since? It takes literally seconds to make an imprint of a key or to swap it for another. Also, I'd call the local police station to ask them if it was a genuine visit.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I just don't know the need of having registered my wife ID number.
To control if she is legit.

Tom
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:56
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

A few years back I noticed two men in a car on one of the guest parkings which in itself is not strange. When however some hours later I saw that they had moved the car to our private parking & just sitting in it I decided to go and ask who they were. One of the two proceeded to show me some sort of police ID, that honestly looked like something ordered online...
I asked for photo ID which was declined.
Must have had that bored housewife look over me since he asked me to keep quiet about it.
Needless to say, they must have thought their cover was blown as early next morning the police decended on our normaly very quiet street. Apparently they had been watching a house further down the steet for some time already. I still dont know why, but since they arrived with dogs my guess is that it was drug related.

Last edited by Sigh; 11.09.2020 at 11:21. Reason: Spelling
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:59
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Was the key out of her sight, even for a moment? And has she tried it in your door since? It takes literally seconds to make an imprint of a key or to swap it for another. Also, I'd call the local police station to ask them if it was a genuine visit.
According to her no. He basically tried in the apartment in front and instantly gave it back to her. I can try to check with the police station today if it was legit.
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:02
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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A few years back I noticed two men in a car on one of the guest parkings which in itself is not strange. When however some hours later I saw that they had moved the car to our private parking & just sitting in it I decided to go and ask who they were. One of the two proceeded to show me some sort of police ID, that honestly looked like something ordered online...
I asked for photo ID which was declined.
Must have had that bored housewife look over me since he asked me to keep quiet about it.
Needless to say, they must have thought their cover was blown as early next morning the police decended on our normaly very quiet street. Apparently they had been watching a house further down the steet for some time already. I still dont know why, but since they arrived with dogs my guess is that it was drug related.
I bet ya your neighboirs threw out their garbage using the wrong bags !
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:08
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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According to her no. He basically tried in the apartment in front and instantly gave it back to her. I can try to check with the police station today if it was legit.
I would do that purely because what they did was a little unusual. If something doesn't feel right, it's worth checking out. Wouldn't have raised the key copy/switch thing if it wasn't one of the oldest tricks in the book.
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:29
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Not related, but may be of interest to some...

I remember working from home in my little London terrace house when I heard a LOT of aggressive shouting outside, then a thundering bashing on my front door. I raced to the door, to be met by a chap in full SWAT type gear and pointing a semi automatic gun at me!

He screamed at me "anyone else in the house" and with my reply of no, he shouted an instruction to close my door, lock it, get down and stay away from the windows.

Absolutely bemused, and a little scared, I followed his instructions, but could still hear the shouting happening outside, and could hear them banging on the doors of my neighbours. And then it went quiet.

After what seemed like an age, I peeped out of the window and saw my street full of of heavily armed cops, pointing guns at the house 3 doors away. And a little while later, a more "normal" knock on the door, with a voice telling me it was ok to open up. At which point I could see someone being ushered into a police wagon and a lot of cops carrying plastic bags to another wagon.

The chap there told me they were on the hunt for a known meth dealer, who was operating a lab in that house 3 doors down, and who had recently killed a policeman. That they'd narrowed the location of this person down to our group of houses, and that they were following their normal approach - make a lot of noise, and the innocent people will have curiosity to find out more. The "baddies" will know its the police, and won't open the door.

I've always wondered what would have happened if I wasn't home that day - would I have returned to work to find my door had been bashed open?
About 20 years ago, I was sitting outside a bar in the Niederdorf having a beer. Several police vans drew up and policemen in helmets, body armour and with guns assembled in the street, looking up at the building opposite. They were tense and engrossed in some sort of conversation. Two of them went up to the door and tried the handle and another was surveying the windows or roof with binoculars. I thought I was about to witness a show, courtesy of the Swiss taxpayer. They didn't seem at all concerned about any of us who were watching.

Then suddenly they all got back into their vans and drove away.
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:37
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Then suddenly they all got back into their vans and drove away.
The "Oh S*it, we forgot the keys in the office" moment
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Old 11.09.2020, 14:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Exact same thing happened to me as well at 7 am whilst I was sleeping so lots of initial aggressive knocking, short interrogation about the neighbor whereabouts and trying my keys without even asking (just a "I will quickly try the keys" while taking them). I learned later it was drug police looking for the neighbor as they arrested a friend of his, they just wanted to have a look in the room to confirm he was not also involved in the trade.
I don't know anyone else who has experienced this so it is definitely rare unless you live in temporary apartments or very low rent places with lots of turnover.
They should be in uniform and polite in their interactions I agree with that. Especially if there is no arrest warrant or house search order.

Last edited by Meerkat33; 11.09.2020 at 14:56.
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Old 11.09.2020, 14:49
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

This is why people hate cops.

This interaction didn't need to go this way. They would have the same effect with a more polite demeanor and now you and your wife wouldn't be so nervous around the cops.
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Old 11.09.2020, 15:14
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

I think it's the standard Swiss greeting for new arrivals

Same happened to me... seems the previous tenant had gotten into trouble with the law... so they came knocking expecting to pick them up (loudly..at 6.00 am - my first week in Zurich).

As to "this does not happen in any other country", nor does the extremely low crime rate here - a correlation maybe?
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