• France edition
 
Safety fears after gang storm Paris train
Photo: Paul Beattie

Safety fears after gang storm Paris train

Published: 20 Mar 2013 18:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2013 18:22 GMT+01:00

Police have been forced to put reinforcements on the capital's overground RER train service after a 20-strong gang carried out an audacious robbery on passengers, while they were stopped at a station.

The  robbers, reportedly armed with pepper spray stormed a train at Grigny station on the RER line D on Saturday. They threatened passengers before relieving them of their personal valuables, in what witnesses described was a “highly organized” attack.

Police have boosted numbers on the line and at Grigny station to reassure passengers.

“Before, these kinds of robberies were generally carried out by four or five people working together, but in this case they numbered 20, which is worrying,” one officer told France’s 20 Minutes website.

France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls visited Grigny on Tuesday and made a public appeal for both victims and witnesses of the crime to come forward.

The RER service, which links Paris to the surrounding suburbs and Ile-de-France region, has a reputation for being a crime hotspot, which was backed up by figures published on Wednesday.

According to data published in Le Figaro, there are 150 reported crimes each day on the rail network in and around Paris. In total there are around 55,000 crimes each year on the RER and metro services in the French capital, which represents a rise of 1.7 percent on last year.

Although Le Figaro reports that acts of violence on trains decreased in 2012, attacks against members of staff soared by 25 percent.

Opposition UMP deputy Valerie Pécresse wants more CCTV cameras installed on RER trains and at stations, to try and cut down crime.

“This attack marks a change in the methods used by these gangs,” Pécresse said. “CCTV needs to be used in real time by the police and there needs to be more security staff in place,” she said.

Jean Claude Delarue from rail users group FUTSP wants the government to do more to protect travellers on the RER.

“We are asking the minister to make decisions and not just send in a few extra policemen for a couple of days,” said Delarue.

In February this year, a gang of similarly audacious robbers held up a Paris-bound train in Marseille, in what one policeman described as like a "scene out of  the wild west". Luckily they were unable to board the train.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Air France pilots' strike enters second week
Air France announced on Sunday that only 41 percent of flights would be operational on Monday. Photo: AFP

Air France pilots' strike enters second week

Air France entered its second week of crippling pilots’ strike on Monday with just 41 percent of flights set to take off as planned. READ  

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K
Josephine and Napoleon's marriage document went for a whopping sum at auction.

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K

Napoleon and Josephine’s marriage licence fetched a whopping €437,500 at auction on Sunday, one more remarkable happening in one of the world’s greatest love stories. READ  

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'
A TV grab shows former French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaking during France 2 broadcast news in Paris. Photo: France 2/AFP

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'

Nicolas Sarkozy painted a dire portrait of the crisis in France on Sunday as the ex-president capped a high-profile political comeback that has kicked off a battle for supremacy over the country's struggling opposition. READ  

PM slams farmers for torching tax office
An officer of technical and forensic police takes pictures of the partially burned tax center, on September 20, 2014 in Morlaix, western of France. AFP Photo/Fred Tanneau

PM slams farmers for torching tax office

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday vowed to prosecute farmers in Brittany who torched tax and insurance buildings and dumped vegetables in the streets in protest at falling living standards. READ  

London to help France pay for Calais migrants
French police watching illigal immigrants while they wait in line on to receive meals from the "La Belle Etoile" (Pretty Star) association in Calais. AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen

London to help France pay for Calais migrants

Britain has bowed to French pressure to help foot the bill for migrants flooding into the northern port of Calais in a bid to reach Britain, Paris said on Saturday. READ  

Cause of Mali air crash still a mystery: probe
Debris found in the aftermath of the crash of the Air Algerie Flight AH5017. Photo: AFP

Cause of Mali air crash still a mystery: probe

Investigators probing the crash of an Air Algerie flight in Mali that killed 116 people in July said on Saturday there was no obvious lead yet and all possibilities, including terrorism, were being explored. READ  

France plan air lifts to help fight Ebola
Liberian Red Cross health workers, wearing protective suits, carry the body of a 18-old-month baby, victim of the Ebola virus in Monrovia. AFP Photo/Zoom Dosso

France plan air lifts to help fight Ebola

France and Germany will send military transport planes to West Africa to help efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and military officials said on Friday. READ  

Moody's keeps France on negative outlook
Credit ratings agency Moody's said that France till has significant credit strengths. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Moody's keeps France on negative outlook

Moody's maintained its negative rating on France on Friday but -- despite earlier reports -- did not deal the struggling economy a downgrade. READ  

Air France strike to continue another week
Air France pilots have voted to continue their strike for another week. Photo: AFP

Air France strike to continue another week

Air France pilots voted on Friday to extend their strike for another week, while management has showed no signs of compromising, according to French media reports. Roughly half of the flagship carrier's flights have remained grounded due to the action. READ  

‘Red tape France’ tops UN e-efficiency list
France apparently isn't the world capital of red tape. Photo: Department for Communities and Local Government/Flickr

‘Red tape France’ tops UN e-efficiency list

France, notorious for its jungle of red-tape, has apparently been undersserving of some of that criticism. A new report ranks France as the best country in Europe when it comes to online government services. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se