Paris Metro rolls out new service for foreign tourists targeted by thieves

Paris Metro rolls out new service for foreign tourists targeted by thieves
Photo: AFP
Foreign holidaymakers who have their personal belongings stolen on the Paris Metro now have a new and far more convenient way of reporting the theft, without having to go to the police.
As the Paris Metro often warns you during its own announcements, there are pickpockets operating on much of the city's underground transport network. 
But it hasn't always been clear to tourists what they should do if they're one of the unlucky ones who has their phone, wallet or purse swiped. 
Now Paris transport operator RATP is trialing a new procedure for foreign tourists which “aims to facilitate and speed up victims' process” with the idea in mind that this will allow them to apply for their insurance more quickly. 
Through the new system, victims will be able to report thefts directly through the RATP at six stations in the French capital where a member of staff will help them to fill out a form available in English and French which will then be sent to the Paris police.
For the trial, Metro stations that see huge numbers of tourists pass through have been chosen. They are Franklin Roosevelt, Anvers, Saint-Michel-Notre Dame, Opera, Hotel de Ville and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile.
Sliding doors: Beware the tiny thieves on the Paris Metro
Photo: Chris Sampson/Flickr
As well as helping tourists, the system has also been created with the police in mind. 
The RATP and Paris police jointly announced that the new procedure would mean “a significant time saving for the police” while also leaving victims with the option, if they wish, of making a statement at a police station.
However the procedure does not apply in all cases.
Tourists can only report thefts at the Metro stations if:
  • No violence was used during the theft
  • There was no possibility of immediately identifying the thief, in other words, the victim did not see the thief.
  • The stolen items are not worth over €1,000

So if victims can identify the pickpocket or suffered violence and lost belongings worth an awful lot of money then they will have to visit the nearest police station to report the crime.

According to the RATP, almost 50 million tourists, 40 percent of whom are foreigners, visit the Paris region every year, according to RATP.  
Among this number, the transport authority estimates that three quarters of them use the Metro and almost half of them use the RER.
The trial, which started on August 20th, is set to last for six months. 

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