How effective are police at catching criminals in different parts of France?

A leading French daily has looked at the success rate of police and gendarmerie forces when fighting crime in each of France’s departments, reaching some unexpected results.

How effective are police at catching criminals in different parts of France?
Photo: AFP

France’s Le Figaro’s newspaper has enlisted the help of analysts to rate the effectiveness of police and gendarmerie in all of France's mainland 96 departments.

This ranking, carried out with the help of analysts and based on figures by France’s Ministry of Interior used a so-called suspect rate as a barometer.

In other words, they measured the ability of the police unit to name a suspect for each of its open cases.

According to Le Figaro, Paris came “bottom of the class” in terms of police effectiveness when catching criminals, whereas police units in rural and suburban areas of France fared much better.

“Crime increased by more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2017,” which made Paris police's job of catching more culprits even harder.

For every 100 crimes, police and gendarmes in the capital were only able to implicate 22 suspects in 2017, a 36 percent drop over the five-year period.

This poor record pushes Paris to the bottom of the national ranking, just behind its Ile-de-France neighbour Hauts-de-Seine, where the decline in police productivity reached 28 percent, and another Paris suburb Seine-Saint-Denis in third with a much more reasonable 2 percent efficiency drop.

Conversely the department of Corrèze in the rural south-west scored the highest rate of police effectiveness, with an increase of 43 percent in the number of cases attributed to suspects, despite its 10 percent rise in crime.

READ ALSO: Where in France you are most likely to be the victim of a crime

Map: Where in France you are most likely to be a victim of crime


It was followed by Lot in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France with an increased police success rate of 34 percent to deal with its 16 percent rise in crime.

In third came Ardèche in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-east France, with a 21 percent upsurge in attributable cases vs a 7 percent increase in crime.

Despite their increase in delinquency, a trend which affects France as a whole, all three of these departments still have some of the lowest crime rates in the country.

According to Le Figaro they are also seeing “significant productivity gains in the judiciary process in recent years”.

SEE ALSO: What to do if you're the victim of a crime in France

In Marseille, a city with a reputation for lawlessness, crime has dropped by 10 percent over the last five years and the suspect rate has remained stable.

It’s joined by Yvelines just outside Paris and Var in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur as the only three departments of more than one million inhabitants which have improved their police effectiveness.

All other heavily populated departments in France, most of which include a major city, seem to be struggling to deal with the crime spike in a similar vein to the capital.

Some of the best performing police units are also found in the north-east of France, Le Figaro’s study concludes, with a high number of cases being solved in Meuse, Aube, Vosges, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Haute-Marne.


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French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.