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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France vows to tackle motorbike ‘rodeos’ after children injured

The French government has pledged a new crackdown against illicit motorbike cruising by youths in suburbs across the country, after two children were seriously injured by a rider near Paris.

France vows to tackle motorbike 'rodeos' after children injured

The rowdy late-night races and stunts known as “rodeos” have become increasingly popular in particular in low-income neighbourhoods, leading to complaints about traffic and noise from local officials and many residents.

On Friday evening, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy were hit by a rider while playing tag outside their home in Pontoise, northwest of the capital.

French daily Le Figaro reported on Monday that the girl suffered a blow to the head and remained in serious condition in hospital, while the boy had a broken leg.

The accident came after a 19-year-old man was killed in June after being hit by a bike rider in the western city of Rennes.

“I have asked the police to step up their interventions this month,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in the southern city of Marseille.

Nonetheless the rodeos are often tolerated or defended as a gritty urban subculture that provides an outlet for disaffected youths, with an upcoming film, “Rodeo”, that appears to glorify the gatherings and  generated a strong buzz at the Cannes film festival last May.

Police have carried out 8,000 operations to break up rodeos in the past two months, leading to 1,200 arrests and the seizure of around 700 motorbikes and other vehicles including all-terrain “quads”.

In 2018, parliament passed a law increasing penalties for the riders to up to five years in prison.