• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Safety fears after gang storm Paris train

Ben McPartland · 20 Mar 2013, 18:22

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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
First driverless minibus goes on trial in Paris
Gilbert Gagnaire, Director General of Easy Mile, poses in front of his driverless EZ10 minibus. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

The French capital's transport authority will carry out its first test of a driverless minibus on Saturday.

Feature
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
Receptionist Ivan Lopez in his tiny "chambre de bonne". Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Thousands of Parisians round off a hard day's work with a trudge up six flights of stairs to a tiny, stuffy room they resignedly call home.

Former president Chirac still in hospital but wife home
Bernadette Chirac executes a deal at the French Stock Exchange on September 12. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Former French president Jacques Chirac remains in hospital in Paris but his wife Bernadette has now been discharged.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

Cameron school pal appointed UK ambassador to France
Ed Llewellyn has spent time in the European Commission. Photo: Gov.uk

Ed Llewellyn attended the Eton College at the same time as former PM David Cameron, and then served as his chief of staff throughout his eleven years as Conservative leader.

UK announces new ambassador to France
Photo: gov.uk

Meet Edward Llewellyn, the UK's new ambassador to France.

How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Photo: Marie/Flickr

Which stage of the assimilation process are you at?

Opinion - Integration
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Photo: AFP

Demands and laws to force immigrants to live, look, and think like the French are futile and damaging.

France's famous 'rogue trader' must pay €1 million to bank
Photo: AFP

French "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel was ordered on Friday to pay €1 million to his former employer.

Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
Photo: Pupkin/Flickr

Moving to Paris or just arrived? Read this first.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
Society
Bordeaux hospital ranked as best in France
National
France rolls out 'world's first' driverless buses
Society
15 things a Frenchwoman can do to feel more British
Culture
Every fact you need to know about France's 'départements'
2,733
jobs available