Accidents happen every day. The police documented the events exactly, also with pictures. That was the case 70 years ago. The Schwyz canton police are now enjoying great success on Instagram with these snapshots from the past.

This is what accident photos used to look like: The Schwyz cantonal police repeatedly publish photos of accident situations on their Instagram account from their archive. This accident picture was taken in 1958 in Rothenthurm SZ.

So have accidents looked earlier

“The images clearly show how much the townscape has changed in the canton of Schwyz in the past few decades,” says Florian Grossmann, spokesman for Kapo Schwyz. This picture was taken in 1956 between Altendorf and Pfäffikon. The A3 motorway is on the left in the picture, the police wrote.

 This is what accidents used to look like

November 6, 1956: A car and a train collided between Brunnen and Gersau. The train doesn't exist anymore.

That's what

  • The Schwyz canton police repeatedly publishes accident photos from their archive on Instagram.

  • Changed The craft of police photography has basically not changed over the years. However, a lot has changed in terms of the technology that is used.

  • The pictures are very well received by the community: some followers even wanted to buy nostalgic accident photos.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 17,000 traffic accidents occurred on Swiss roads last year in which people were injured or killed. The police get to the bottom of the causes of the accidents: Among other things, they document statements by those involved, publish calls for witnesses and record accident situations and damage incurred in pictures.

The Schwyz canton police do the same. «Photography is an essential part of the report. In addition to the accident report, it enables the encountered situation at the location, the final position (s) to be traced at any time after the event and thus also makes a contribution to clarifying the process and cause, “says Florian Grossmann, Head of Communication at the Schwyz cantonal police.

Kapo Schwyz regularly publishes archive photos of traffic accidents on Instagram, for example from the 1950s. “We cannot understand exactly since when accidents have been documented with photographs. Our image archive goes back to the early 1950s, ”says Florian Grossmann, Head of Communication. But there are also pictures that were taken even earlier.

Much exchange with the population

Often the pictures are published as a little riddle with the question of the accident location. «The photos clearly show how much the townscape has changed in the canton of Schwyz over the past few decades. We publish them as 'riddles' to encourage our followers to think along and actively participate », says Grossmann. The community is happy about it: “The pictures received a very positive response and they stimulate discussion,” says the media spokesman. There is almost never any negative feedback.

Some followers are downright delighted by the nostalgic recordings. “Followers keep coming back to us and asking whether more such images are available or whether they can be viewed, and even whether they can be bought.” However, pictures are not sold, and the police archive cannot be visited by the public. “However, recordings published by us may be used provided the source is acknowledged,” says Grossmann.

Through the exchange, the police can also establish closer links with the population. “It enables us to get in touch with our community outside of current events and prevention contributions. The proximity generated in this way also leads to the fact that the population asks us questions that have long interested them, but could not or did not want to put them to someone from the police. »

Expensive films and few cameras

The craft of police photography has fundamentally not changed over the years: “The key is to recognize the situation, the end position and the existing traces,” says Grossmann. But a lot has changed in terms of technology. In the past, you had to use black and white films and then develop them – and that was expensive. “As a result, photography was much more economical than in today's digital age. In addition, fewer cameras were available. »

Even if the technical development makes a lot of things easier, it not only brings advantages: For example, spectators who, for example, take pictures of accidents at the wheel are fined again and again. Images are often quickly disseminated online: “This is not always to the delight of those involved or the emergency services,” says Grossmann.

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7341

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