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Migrant in France. Photo supplied

Violent crime rises dramatically in French countryside new data reveals

A particularly worrying assessment of crime in the French countryside has seen the light. Crime is on the rise almost everywhere in France according to the 2020 report from the SSMI - Statistical Service of the French Ministry of the Interior .

Published: January 11, 2021, 10:27 am

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    It is quite commonly accepted that in the French countryside, life is pleasant. At least it always has been. Indeed, according to the latest report from the statistical service of the Ministry of the Interior, delinquency “in the gendarmerie zone” is on the rise, and this in the four corners of France.

    In general, reported French daily Le Figaro, violence has increased by 8 percent in rural and peri-urban areas administered by the gendarmerie instead of the police. In Ille-et-Vilaine, for example, violence has increased by 20 percent. A sharp rise also observable in Gironde (+ 15 percent), in Marne and Calvados, and in Vendée.

    While intentional assault and battery, revealing a climate of daily violence, stagnated last year in the police zone, it increased by around 10 percent in the sectors entrusted to the gendarmes. At the same time, kidnappings have decreased in police zones by 3 percent, while they have climbed in gendarmerie zones by nearly 15 percent.

    Ditto for the cumulative indicators of score settling, murders and attempted murders, the ultimate expression of violence, which increased by around 3 percent in the police zone and exploded in the gendarmerie zone by more than 15 percent compared to 2019 .

    Rapes increased by around 7 percent last year, in the police zone, while these serious attacks increased by nearly 18 percent in the countryside, with more than 12 000 incidents reported, or more than 30 per day.

    Contacted by Le Figaro, a prefect stationed in the south of the country detailed the worrying situation:”Most of the acts of violence, in my department, come from domestic violence,” he said, “but also expressions of anger, rebellions and refusal to comply”.

    Are the sharp increases in these kind of refusals to comply and outrages explained by the two confinements, as suggested by the prefect contacted by Le Figaro? A priori no, if we are to believe the figures of the SSMI, which evoke for example a collapse of burglaries during confinements (-44 percent in March-April, -51 percent in November-December).

    This gives a glimpse of the reality of this growing insecurity in the countryside.

    The last indicator, finally, is the increase in violence against depositaries of public authority. If the latter is declining in towns, it is also increasing in the countryside (+ 7 percent). In 2020, therefore, nearly 20 gendarmes were attacked… per day.

    The director general of the French Office for Immigration and Integration meanwhile responded to those who contest the transfer of asylum seekers to other regions in France and asked elected officials to make an “effort”.

    However, according to the actual figures, the efforts made by France to welcome migrants are already substantial with more than 107 000 places financed last year. Above all, in twenty years, the budget devoted to migrants has exploded, from 500 million euros to three billion euros.

    From this month of January, more than 1 000 asylum seekers from Ile-de-France will now be sent to other regions. As reported by Le Monde, in recent years, this figure has been rising steadily, notably thanks to the platform set up by the OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration) which allows asylum seekers to move more easily. Except that in recent years, there were only 200 and 400 wanting to register on this platform. The director general of OFII, Didier Leschi, former prefect, denounced the “hypocrisy” on the subject of asylum requests in the mainstream media.

    He said the hypocrisy was linked to the system of reception whereby those who come from countries which are characterized by the negligence of their leaders are favored. “Should they be regularized on other grounds than asylum, on the basis that […] ‘those who are here’ must be able to stay?” he wanted to know.

    Consequently, Didier Leschi denounced a certain European inconsistency, taking as an example the fact that a migrant who has already made an asylum request in one country, could ask for another one afterwards in another European country. So faced with this, the director of the OFII advocated better care in other regions of the country by betting on “residential stability for refugees […] to access employment in regions where needs exist − we must create housing”.

    But social housing has not stopped the rise of delinquency. The Grand-Quevilly police station, near Rouen (Seine-Maritime), was the target of yet another fireworks attack. Three Arab teenagers aged 13 to 14 were arrested, reported 76actu. Shortly afterwards, the police arrested three suspects. One, 13, used fireworks on police officers from the Anti-Crime Squad (BAC).

    This attack was a “revenge” action following a case which took place two hours earlier in the same district, explained our colleagues. A dozen individuals tried to steal an electric bicycle from a couple, but a police officer intervened in time, preventing the thieves from taking their loot.

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