Securing a suicide hot spot: effects of a safety net at the Bern Muenster Terrace

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2005 Aug;35(4):460-7. doi: 10.1521/suli.2005.35.4.460.


The city of Bern has a high percentage of suicides by jumping (28.6%). Related to other local hotspots, the highest number of deaths (mean 2.5 per year) is found at the Muenster Terrace in the old city. In 1998, after a series of suicides, a safety net was built to prevent people from leaping from the terrace and to avoid further traumatization of people living in the street below. We analyzed the numbers of suicides by jumping before and after the installation of the net. We also assessed the number of media reports referring to this suicide method. After the installation of the net no suicides occurred from the terrace. The number of people jumping from all high places in Bern was significantly lower compared to the years before, indicating that no immediate shift to other nearby jumping sites took place. Furthermore, we found a moderate correlation between the number of media reports and the number of persons resident outside Bern committing suicide by jumping from high places in the city.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology