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LIFE IN PARIS

Reported cases of pickpocketing on Paris Metro shoot up 74 percent in a year

Reports of pickpocketing on the Paris Metro have shot up 74 percent in the last year, new figures show.

Reported cases of pickpocketing on Paris Metro shoot up 74 percent in a year
New numbers show pickpockets on the Paris underground have doubled since last year. Photo: AFP

It's an old problem that is reaching new levels. New figures show that twice as many thefts were reported on the Paris Metro in 2019 compared to last year. 

According to the city's transport operator Ile-de-France-Mobilites (IDFM), 7,485 thefts were reported by Paris' commuters between January and October this year. In 2018, the number for the same period was 4,721.

“It's an unprecedented rise,” the director of transport operator RATP told French newspaper Le Parisien

Regular pickpocketing offences, thefts without use of violence, increased the most: 5,093 incidents compared to 2,920 in 2018, or an increase of 74 percent. The number of violent thefts increased by 33 percent: 2,392 against 1,801 last year.

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Gare du Nord station – which is the arrival point for the Eurostar and the RER link to both city airports – and the interchange station Châtelet-les-Halles had the highest number of reports with 125 and 322 respectively.

Other stations to beware of are those frequently used by tourists, such as Opéra (227), Strasbourg Saint-Denis (145) and Saint-Michel (129), which is right next to the Notre Dame cathedral. 

Also on the list are the large stations in the northern, less wealthy part of Paris Gare de l’Est (132), Stalingrad (191) and Barbès-Rochechouart (137).

Referring to a decrease of the number of policemen deployed to the Parisian transport system has from 1,350 in 2015 to 1,000 today, the president of the IDFM, Valérie Pécresse, said to Le Figaro that she will announce a new security plan in the coming days in order to improve the situation.

Many of the pickpockets operating on the capital's transport are part of organised criminal gangs. In October a gang was jailed for a total of 113 years for theft and human trafficking – many of the Romanian gang members had been forcing their children to go out and steal from Metro passengers.

 

 

 

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TRAVEL

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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