In early August, Robert Velay expressed satisfaction with the municipal decree announced between early August and late September to try to end growing crime committed by mostly Arab teenagers in the streets of his village.
On August 9, the mayor of Puget-Théniers – with less than 2 000 inhabitants – issued a by-law introducing a curfew which banned unaccompanied under-17 minors from driving around the village from 10pm to 6am.
The Arab teenagers had been terrorising of some inhabitants contributing to noise, violence and drug trafficking.
“This decree is to counter the delinquency of young people, the gendarmerie and the town hall were imploding under complaints. One night, we stood guard at the pool and we caught teenagers in the act of breaking and entering. When they were brought to the gendarmerie, they told us that they could not do anything because they [the teenagers] were minors.
“A decision had to be made to calm the situation and give the gendarmes the means to intervene. We then learned about the Internet and we saw that we had to target the migrant neighbourhoods: the mayors who announced such a decree over the whole commune were attacked by the prefecture, because we must leave spaces of freedom,” Velay explained.
“There is a change of population in the village, with more and more families in distress and kids whose parents do not care … Some teenagers, 13 to 15 years old, who bring in friends and delinquency. […] They take the street for a party place at one in the morning, but it could not continue like that.”
Velay added: “This summer, with the heat, and when there is music all night long … People work, we have to understand them, what we wanted was respect for others.”
Problems associated with Arab and African minors have been noted elsewhere in France, especially in Paris. In the French capital, Moroccan gangs, made up of minors, have terrorised residents in La Chapelle, Goutte-d’Or and Barbès.
Police in Paris have been working with law enforcement from Morocco to try and identify the migrant minors in efforts to deport them to Morocco.
Last year, Paris police arrested 1 552 Morrocan migrant minors, a 41 per cent increase on the year before. Despite the increase in arrests, only six Moroccans were deported to their native country.