Every year the National Observatory for Crime and Punishment (ONDRP) and the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (l’Insee) release an extensive quantitative study of crime in France.
By including unreported crimes the authors attempt to give a more accurate and in depth picture of the status of crime in France than police statistics, as well as trying to measure the population's fear of crime.
These are the main findings for 2018:
1. A drop in sexual offences
The number of people reporting sexual violence outside the household shrunk from 260,000 in 2017 to 185,000 in 2018.
As has been the case in previous years, only a small percentage said they had reported the crime to police.
Two thirds of the people interviewed said they had decided not to file a report because “it wouldn't have made any difference.” Only 13 percent of the total filed a police report. For the rape cases the number was slightly higher, at 21 percent.
One in five victims had never spoken about their experience with anyone, according to the study.
2. More incidents of physical violence
The study found an increase in the number of people exposed to physical violence, with 693,000 people (1.3 percent of the entire population) saying they had experienced physical aggression in 2018. In 2016 the number was 575,000.
However, the 2018 number was lower than the trend in the early 2000s, 2008 being the peak-year with 875,000 people saying they had been victims of physical violence. Twenty-eight percent of the victims in 2018 said they had reported the crime.
3. Fewer car thefts
Last year saw the lowest level of car thefts since 2016, with 198,000 reporting their car stolen. Bicycle thefts remained at a high level with 318,000 people saying they had their bike stolen.
4. Fall in burglaries
The number of burglaries reported also dwindled from previous years. In 2018, 490,000 people said they had been victims of burglary, a 14 percent fall from the record level registered in 2017 (560,000).
Police officers secure the cordoned-off area following a bank robbery attempt in northwestern Paris in 2018. Photo: AFP
5. Fewer thefts
In total 166,000 people said they had been victims of thefts or attempted thefts in 2018, another slump compared to previous years. For 44 percent of the thefts the stolen item was a cellphone. More than 50 percent of the victims were under 30 years old.
6. Spike in bank frauds
Bank fraud crimes have been on the rise since 2010, and 2018 saw another hike with 1.2 million people reporting to have been victims of fraud. While most of the victims reported frauds of around €150, 13 percent of the victims said to have experienced more costly frauds of over €1,000. Only 23 percent of the victims reported the crime.
7. Feeling of insecurity increases
In 2018, 21 percent said they feel unsafe in their local community, a trend that has been on the rise since 2014. The highest reported level of insecurity was in Paris, with 29 percent saying they did not feel safe. In general, women feel more unsafe than men (26 percent), and young people between 18 and 29 more unsafe than the rest (26 percent).
8. Terrorism less worrying
Twenty percent considered terrorism to be the most pressing problem in France in 2019, a huge drop from the 30 percent who said the same the previous year.
Poverty and unemployment were considered to be the main problem by 19 and 16 percent respectively. The environment ranked fourth, with 14 percent listing it as the main problem in France.