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Foreigners in France behind a quarter of thefts

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Foreigners in France behind a quarter of thefts
Foreigners responsible for more and more thefts in France. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP
14:25 CET+01:00
The number of foreigners accused of robbery in French towns and cities has surged in recent years according to new data published on Tuesday. The figures show that thieves from abroad are now implicated in over a quarter of all thefts and robberies in the country.

New figures released on Tuesday gave an insight into the changing face of France's petty criminals.

According to the data published by the National observatory of crime and criminal liability (ONDRP), the number of foreigners accused of robbery and theft in France has shot up by ten percent since 2008.

The report, which analyzed data from the French criminal records database (Stic) between 2008 and 2012, revealed that of all those accused of theft and robbery in 2012, over a quarter were from abroad. 

“The thefts committed in France seem to be changing because, according to the Observatory, an increasing number of their perpetrators are people who have entered the national territory for a temporary period during which they have allegedly committed crimes for the profit of criminal organizations,” the ONDRP said in the report.

The report looked at the nationality, gender and ages of those accused of the crimes, but did not mention how many of them were eventually convicted. It revealed a steep rise in the number of foreign youngsters accused of crimes.

According to the figures, in 2012 a total of 40,670 people with foreign nationalities were arrested for theft or robbery.

The overall number of thefts committed by minors between 2008 and 2012 may have seen a dip, but the number of foreign minors accused of theft doubled over the last four years.  

Of the foreigners implicated in robberies in 2012, 9.5 percent were Romanian or from Balkan countries and 7.8 percent were from North Africa.

"Over the last four years, we can see the emergence of significant new criminal gangs from the Balkans and former states in the Soviet union. They see that these minor infractions are rarely spotted by the police and when they are carried out in series and in high numbers can bring in a lot of money," said Christophe from the ONDRP.

Of the total 152,000 people accused of theft in France in 2012, 23.8 percent were women, 32.6 percent were minors and 26.8 percent were foreigners, according to the report.

The report also pointed to the political and economic situation in Tunisia during the fall of President Ben Ali in 2011 which caused an increase in immigration to France. 

The figures can also explained by a rise in organized crime, according to the report, citing an annual report from Sirasco, part of the French police judiciary.

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