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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

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister François Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.

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