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CRIME

Paris public transport ranked worst in France for thefts and assaults

Paris is the French city with the highest number of crimes on its public transport, according to Interior Ministry figures. However, lockdowns caused crime to stall across the country in 2020.

Paris public transport ranked worst in France for thefts and assaults
The number of attacks on public transport, however, fell significantly across all cities in France in 2020 compared to 2019. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP

Taking the metro in Paris can sometimes be a bit stressful to say the least. According to data from the Interior Ministry reported by Le Figaro newspaper, the French capital is the city with the highest levels of thefts and physical assaults on public transport.

In 2020, 54,856 people were victims of theft or violence on the RATP (the Paris transport network), which represents 25 victims per 1,000 inhabitants.

READ ALSO: How transport in Paris will change in 2022

Paris tops the list of regions with the most theft and violent incidents on public transport. It’s followed by the city of Saint-Denis in the northern suburbs of Paris, with 2,218 victims of aggression, representing 19 victims per 1,000 inhabitants.

According to the Interior Ministry’s statistics the culprits tend to be young. In 74 percent of cases, they are between the ages of 13 and 29.

In light of these figures, the RATP stressed that it has taken steps to fight against crime on its bus, tram and metro network. The company primarily relies on 51,000 surveillance cameras and 1,000 security patrol agents.

Many Parisians, particularly women, have complained about the lack of security on the Paris Metro in recent years. According to a 2017 study by the Institute of Urbanism and Planning (IAU), one in two women in France feel unsafe when taking public transport, compared 26.7 percent of men.

An even more shocking study from 2015 found that 100 percent of women in France have experienced some sort of harassment on public transport.

READ ALSO: Fed-up Paris Metro commuters launch fresh campaign against sexual harassment

Lockdowns caused urban crime to fall

The number of attacks on public transport, however, fell significantly across all cities in France in 2020 compared to 2019. This is not surprising: the successive lockdowns emptied out cities across France, in particular Paris, of residents and tourists.

Working from home rules and shop closures reduced the crowds in metros, trams and buses, causing the number of attacks to plummet. Crime on public transport fell by 29 percent in Paris and 18 percent in Saint Denis.

Some cities saw an even bigger impact due to the drastic drop in public transport use, with crime dropping by 65 percent in Grenoble and 45 percent in Bordeaux.

READ ALSO: 5 ways the Paris Metro catches out unwary tourists

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CRIME

French court jails influencer who skimmed Covid aid

A Paris appeals court on Monday jailed an online influencer for five years for skimming more than €3 million off government support for businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

French court jails influencer who skimmed Covid aid

Paul Antony, known as “PA7” online, trawled social networks like Snapchat for self-employed people and small firms from March 2020, filling out fraudulent claims for the business payouts on their behalf and taking a 40 percent cut.

Of the 700 requests he filed totalling almost €34 million, some €7.5 million were honoured between March 2020 and July 2021, leaving the 25-year-old with “commissions” of over three million euros, the court found.

He and a friend, Julien M., spent months “showing off” their sudden wealth in Dubai to his 51,000 Snapchat followers and 13,000 Instagram fans before they were arrested.

Antony had pled guilty to fraud and money laundering as part of an organised criminal gang in his initial trial, but filed an appeal over the sentence.

The appeals court reduced his jail time from seven to five years, one of them on probation.

He is also barred from running a business for 10 years. 

“The court applied the law well and justly given the facts of the case,” Antony’s lawyers Carole Foissy and David-Olivier Kaminski said.

Julien M. also received a reduced sentence, from five to three years’ jail, with 18 months on probation.

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