Crime in France
Crime in France is combated by a range of French law enforcement agencies.
Priority Security Zones (PSZ)
In August 2012 the French Government announced the creation of fifteen Priority Security Zones (PSZ) in an effort to target crime hotspots. Extra police, riot police, detectives and members of the intelligence services are to be mobilised. Social services, educational bodies and charities also put extra resources into the selected areas.
Among the areas granted extra resources are neighbouhoods in Marseille, which are blighted by gun crime, and part of Paris’ 18th arrondisement district, where drug dealing is rife. The Moulins quarter in the northern city of Lille is under focus, as are three towns in the French oversees territory of Guyana.
The Neuhof area of Strasbourg was selected because of a need to tackle violent crime, and the historic rural town of Chambly to the north of Paris is being focused on because of rising burglary rates and car theft. The northern quarter of Amiens in the Somme region and areas of Seine-Saint-Denis to the north of Paris, which witnessed fierce rioting in 2005, are priority zones because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market.
Violent crime is relatively uncommon in the city center. Pickpockets are the most significant problem and are commonly children under the age of 16 because they are difficult to prosecute. Pickpockets are very active on the rail link from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center. The Paris Police Prefecture publishes a pamphlet entitled “Paris in Complete Safety” that provides practical advice and useful telephone numbers for visitors.In an emergency, dialing 17 will connect the caller to the police. You can also dial the Europe-wide emergency response number 112 to reach an operator for all kinds of emergency services (similar to the U.S. 911 system). Non-French speakers may experience a delay while an English speaker is located.
In 2014, Thousand of demonstrator protested the Israeli-Gaza Conflict for over a week. During several instances rioters shouted anti-Semitic chants and attacked Jews while ransacking Jewish Synagogues and Jewish owned businesses. Large demonstrations in Paris are generally managed by a strong police presence, but such events have the potential to become dangerous and should be avoided. In addition, the congestion caused by large demonstrations can cause serious inconveniences for a visitor on a tight schedule. Likewise, some sporting events, such as soccer matches, have occasionally degenerated into violence that continued into the streets.
Crime by type
The Milieu is a category of organized criminals operating in France. These groups are quite often not ethnically French. Criminal groups associated with the Milieu work in every major city in France, but are mostly concentrated in Marseille, Grenoble, Paris, and Lyon.
In 2011, Transparency International concluded in its annual report for 2011 that France does not do enough to stop corruption. A TNS Sofres poll in October 2011 indicated that 72% of the French public had the perception that politicians are corrupt.
- "France to launch crackdown on 15 crime 'hot spots'", France 24, August 6, 2012.
- "Burn, baby, burn", The Economist, April 15, 2010.
- "Banned Gaza protest in Paris suburb turns violent, again", France24, July 21, 2014.
- Lalam, Nacer, "How organised is organised crime in France?" in Organised Crime in Europe: Concepts, Patterns and Control Policies in the
- "Corruption watchdog says France could do better", Radio France Internationale, September 6, 2012.
- "Bad smells", The Economist, October 1, 2011.