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Scores held as Paris police fight tourist crime

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Scores held as Paris police fight tourist crime
Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP
18:33 CEST+02:00
Paris police made 136 arrests over the French bank holiday weekend for crimes targeting tourists, it emerged on Tuesday. Police in the capital have reported a recent rise in illegal street-selling, pick-pocketing and other scams targeting visitors to the city.

August is one of the French capital’s busiest tourist periods, but an increase in petty crimes targeting visitors has caused concerns within the French tourist industry and among travellers themselves.

During the bank holiday weekend, from August 15th to 18th, police arrested 72 illegal street vendors, with over 2,000 items being sold illegally, according to a report published on Tuesday.

Local police arrested 10 people for card game scams near popular tourist sites such as the Louvre, Notre-Dame cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées and Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.

Law enforcement also apprehended some 54 pick-pockets in busy metro stations at Charles de Gaulle Etoile and Tuileries.

TOP 10 TIPS: How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets

August 8th saw a peak in petty tourist crime, with 40 arrests being made for similar offences on that day alone.

Following a recent wave of petty crimes against tourists, Paris police have in recent months stepped up their efforts to protect the safety of tourists.

Since April, more than 200 extra police officers have been patrolling the streets of the capital, as well as its metro system, to prevent criminals targeting the millions of tourists who visit Paris every year.

GALLERY: New tourist manual shows what the French really think of you

In May, The Local reported how local tourism officials were forced to play down the significance of a riot near the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées, during which a bus full of tourists was attacked by a group of looting football fans.

In March, French Tourism Minister Sylvia Pinel pledged to ensure the security of travellers, after 23 Chinese visitors were robbed of their cash and passports shortly after arriving in the capital.

In April, the world-famous Louvre art gallery in Paris was forced to shut down for a day when employees staged a walk-out in protest against pickpockets at the museum, who were "becoming more numerous and more aggressive".

By Naomi Firsht

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