Murder in Paris: The profile of a crime

Murders in the French capital are thankfully rare but naturally do occur. A new study released this week has revealed who is the typical Parisian murderer, who are their victims and when do the crimes take place.

Murder in Paris: The profile of a crime
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Paris is far from being the murder capital of France, that title tends to go to Marseille or Corsica, but people are killed each year in the City of Light.

A study, released on Wednesday by the National Observatory of Crime and Criminal Responses, examines murder cases in Paris and the surrounding departments of Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis, reports Le Parisien newspaper.

It sheds some light on who the victims are, where and how they killed as well as when.

Between 2007 and 2013, 602 homicides were recorded across all four areas, of which 226 were in the capital – although the numbers have been falling since 2010, from 103 in that year to 95 the following year, 78 in 2012 and 73 last year.

Here we delve into the darker side of the City Of Light and look at ten facts about murder in Paris.

  • Saturday night is the prime homicide time, with 97 percent of murders in Paris committed on this day.

  • Victims are most likely to be men, aged 25-34.

  • Men are ten times more likely to commit murder – 91 percent of perpetrators are male and only nine percent female – and likely to be aged 25-34.

  • Getting into a fight is the fastest way to get yourself killed, with 34 percent of murders the result of altercations. Half of these cases involved people who knew each other.

  • Foreign residents of the capital and its suburbs are more likely to be victims, at 49 percent of the total.

  • Only 19 percent of homicides are related to criminal activity.

  • Victims are as likely to be killed in public as in private, with the split being 49 to 51 percent for the latter.

  • Those killed in a private space, are overwhelmingly likely to be murdered in their  own house, with 82 percent of killings behind closed doors occurring in the victim's home. These victims are overwhelmingly female. Domestic violence accounts for 28 percent of murders in the French capital.

  • Of murders committed in public, the biggest proportion – 35 percent – are on the highway.

  • The majority of killings are carried out with a weapon – 64 percent. Knives or sharp objects commonly found in the home are used in 34 percent of domestic cases, but when it comes to murders committed in the name of the settling of accounts, a gun is used in 86 percent of cases.

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Trees, parks, and a stream: How Paris City Hall plans to redevelop Notre-Dame area

As work continues to restore Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral after the devastating fire of 2019, City Hall has released plans to redesign the area around the cathedral adding trees, a stream and an underground visitor centre.

Trees, parks, and a stream: How Paris City Hall plans to redevelop Notre-Dame area

Three years after the fire that nearly destroyed France’s 850-year old landmark – while the cathedral itself is still closed for repairs – the Mayor of Paris has unveiled plans to redesign the surrounding landscape.

The plans show trees and vegetation surrounding the square in front of the cathedral, where, in hot weather, a small stream will flow through to cool the square.

The group envisages a large 400-metre park along the banks of the Seine, while the space behind the cathedral will also be transformed with extra vegetation.

An artist’s rendering of the area behind the Cathedral (Photo Credit: Studio Alma pour le Groupement BBS)

The reception area will also be redesigned. In the future, groups, individual visitors and tourists wishing to access the towers will queue at different locations.

Under the monument, the underground parking lot will transform into a visitor centre, offering an interior walkway that will give access to the archaeological crypt and will open up onto the Seine.

The image can be seen below:

(Photo Credit: Studio Alma pour le Groupement BBS)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the goal was to “magnify” the building, and that there was a “pressing need” to do so after the fire. For the mayor who is known for her efforts to increase green space in Paris, increasing the vegetation around the monument was also a top priority.

“Urban planning and development must now respond to the climate crisis,” said Hidalgo. In total, 131 new trees will be planted.

At a cost of €50 million, the project will be entirely financed by the City of Paris, and it will be headed by the landscape design firm Bas Mets. The group came in first place out of a group of four finalists in a competition that began in the spring of 2021 to determine the best landscape architect for the job.

Work is already ongoing to restore the cathedral itself after the fire, and that is due to be finished in 2024, in time for the Olympics. Once the Olympics and Paralympics are over, work will start on the area around the Cathedral, which is set to be finished by 2027.