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.
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.
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.