Paris pickpocket victims can now file a complaint in Metro stations

It's a long-standing problem that affects tourists and locals alike - the gangs of pickpockets that target travellers on the Paris Metro.

Paris pickpocket victims can now file a complaint in Metro stations
Pickpocketing is a major problem on the Paris Metro. Photo: AFP

But now police, prosecutors and the city's transport operator RATP have come to an agreement allowing victims to file a complaint within the station, without having to go to a police station.

The new facility comes after a trial period in 49 Metro stations run over the last year. Now all of the Metro stations within Paris and stations on the RER A and B lines within the city have the facility to file complaints directly. Transport bosses say they hope to expand it out to the city's suburbs in the future.

They hope it will lead to increased reporting, as for tourists the process of finding the nearest police station and making the report can be confusing and off-putting.

A report can be made in the Metro station of a theft without violence where the loss is €1,000 or less.

Pickpocketing is a major problem on the Paris transport network, and one that is growing – the first nine months of 2019 saw a 32 percent increase against the same period in 2018.

READ ALSO 'They have all sorts of techniques' – How pickpocketing has surged on the Paris Metro

Many of the pickpockets are part of organised gangs, and in 2019 a 20-strong gang of Romanians were jailed for a total of 113 years. The gang leaders were charged with human trafficking as well as money laundering and criminal enterprise as they had been forcing children to go onto the transport network and steal.

During the 18-month trial period of the new scheme, more than 300 complaints were received at the 49 participating stations and victims included 51 different nationalities. The most number of complaints were received at Châtelet, Saint-Michel and Opéra stations.

READ ALSO 14 simple ways to avoid the Paris pickpockets and petty thieves


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French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.