The mayor of Dijon (Côte-d’Or), Francois Rebsamen, sent out an exasperated press release on Saturday, October 12, to denounce the resurgence of “unbearable criminal acts” in the Dijon agglomeration. Last night, five vehicles were burned in the city, the statement said, provoking the wrath of the Socialist leader.
For several months, in his youth, Rebsamen was an active member of the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, a militant Trotskyist political party in France. Established in 1974, it became the leading party of the far-left in the 2000s.
🔴 COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE | M. le ministre de l'Intérieur, les effectifs de police nationale doivent être renforcés, il y a urgence !
– François REBSAMEN pic.twitter.com/OoP028r0Ec
— François Rebsamen (@frebsamen) October 12, 2019
“Since the beginning of summer, the Dijon agglomeration has been victim to criminal damage, vehicle fires, trams vandalized in Chenove [in the Dijon Metropolis] or shootings on buses,” Francois Rebsamen noted angrily before asking: “Where are the perpetrators of these crimes? Have they been arrested and sentenced?”. The lack of a response to crime is due to the police force “whose numbers are notoriously insufficient in this context,” Rebsamen complained.
This is a warning cry from the mayor who intends to “demand a response from the State whose sovereign mission it is to ensure the safety of people and property”.
The Socialist closed his statement claiming to have asked the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, to support “the prefect of the region by allocating additional staff to secure the [immigrant] neighbourhoods concerned”.
This has been a recurring demand not only in Dijon but in many cities in France. In early September, five mayors announced that they wanted to lodge a complaint against the state for “dereliction of duty”.
The police force is considered to be insufficiently manned, and a feeling of abandonment by the State is growing. The lack of police officers was denounced by at least five French mayors in a legal appeal against the State.
They consider themselves to have been marginalized and abandoned. The mayors of the municipalities of Saint-Denis, Stains, Ile-Saint-Denis, Aubervilliers and Bondy “asked that the state reduced inequalities,” reported French daily Le Figaro.
On Friday, September 6 their lawyer, Arié Alimi, said this request would take the form of an appeal which is a response to a report published in May 2018 by two deputies highlighting the inequalities of treatment by the State vis-à-vis the immigrant-populated Seine-Saint-Denis.
The lack of police resources, a justice system in decline and teachers whose only concern is to leave, such are the evils which, according to them, they must face daily.
Thus, cities like Bondy or Stains have less than one policeman per 400 inhabitants. In contrast, the more ethnically homogenous eighteenth arrondissement of Paris, has one police officer for 315 inhabitants.
The delays in the courtrooms in Aubervilliers are 12 months against only two in Paris. In December 2018, the mayor wanted to denounce “unjustifiable under-staffing”, and the lack of information about the actual population of the department, Le Monde reported.
A claim for compensation was sent to the Prime Minister and to the Ministry of Economy, Justice, Education and Cohesion of the Territories, a prerequisite before an administrative appeal. However, the mayors did not wish to see any “exceptional measures, but simply equal treatment,” said the French Communist Party.