Crime in France

French National Police on a foot patrol.

Crime in France is combated by a range of French law enforcement agencies.

Crime by type


In 2012, France had a murder rate of 1.0 per 100,000 population.,[1] which is typical of Europe and about one fifth that in the United States. There were a total of 665 murders in France in 2012.[1]

Several high-profile fatal terror attacks have happened in France during 2015 and 2016, including the January 2015 Ile-de-France attacks, the November 2015 Paris attacks, the 2016 Magnanville stabbing, the 2016 Nice attack and the 2016 Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray church attack.


Further information: Rape in France

In 1971, the rape rate stood at 2.0 per 100,000 people.[2] In 1995, it was 12.5.[3] In 2009, it stood at 16.2.[4] Some of the increase is likely due to better reporting. According to a 2012 report, about 75,000 rapes take place each year.[5]

According to a 2014 article, about 5,000 to 7,000 of the rapes are gang rapes.[6]

Organised crime

The Milieu is a category of organized criminals operating in France. These groups are quite often not ethnically French. Criminal groups associated with the Milieu work in every major city in France, but are mostly concentrated in Marseille, Grenoble, Paris, and Lyon.[7]


Further information: Corruption in France

In 2011, Transparency International concluded in its annual report for 2011 that France does not do enough to stop corruption.[8] A TNS Sofres poll in October 2011 indicated that 72% of the French public had the perception that politicians are corrupt.[9]

By location

Priority Security Zones (PSZ)

In August 2012 the French Government announced the creation of fifteen Priority Security Zones (PSZ) in an effort to target crime hotspots. Extra police, riot police, detectives and members of the intelligence services are to be mobilised. Social services, educational bodies and charities also put extra resources into the selected areas.

The Neuhof area of Strasbourg was selected because of a need to tackle violent crime, and the historic rural town of Chambly to the north of Paris is being focused on because of rising burglary rates and car theft. The northern quarter of Amiens in the Somme region and areas of Seine-Saint-Denis to the north of Paris, which witnessed fierce rioting in 2005, are priority zones because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market.[10]


Violent crime is relatively uncommon in the city center. Pickpockets are the most significant problem and are commonly children under the age of 16 because they are difficult to prosecute. Pickpockets are very active on the rail link from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center.

The Paris Police Prefecture publishes a pamphlet entitled "Paris in Complete Safety" that provides practical advice and useful telephone numbers for visitors.In an emergency, dialing 17 will connect the caller to the police. You can also dial the Europe-wide emergency response number 112 to reach an operator for all kinds of emergency services (similar to the U.S. and Canadian 911 system). Non-French speakers may experience a delay while an English speaker is located.

In 2010, French interior minister Brice Hortefeux said that 85% of gang members in France were around Paris.[11]

In 2014, Thousands of demonstrators protested the Israeli-Gaza Conflict for over a week. During several instances rioters shouted anti-Semitic chants and attacked Jews while ransacking Jewish Synagogues and Jewish owned businesses.[12] Large demonstrations in Paris are generally managed by a strong police presence, but such events have the potential to become dangerous and should be avoided. In addition, the congestion caused by large demonstrations can cause serious inconveniences for a visitor on a tight schedule. Likewise, some sporting events, such as soccer matches, have occasionally degenerated into violence that continued into the streets.


  1. 1 2 Global Study on Homicide. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013.
  2. Veeraraghavan, Vimala (1987). Rape and Victims of Rape: A Socio-psychological Analysis. Northern Book Centre.
  3. Simon, Rita James. A Comparative Perspective on Major Social Problems. Lexington Books. pp. 20–21.
  4. "Statistics : Crime : Sexual Violence". Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  5. "Light Gang Rape Penalties Provoke Outcry in France". 11 October 2012.
  6. "Tournantes: le calvaire de Nina et Stéphanie". L'Express. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  7. Lalam, Nacer, "How organised is organised crime in France?" in Organised Crime in Europe: Concepts, Patterns and Control Policies in the
  8. "Corruption watchdog says France could do better", Radio France Internationale, 6 September 2012.
  9. "Bad smells", The Economist, 1 October 2011.
  10. "France to launch crackdown on 15 crime 'hot spots'", France 24, 6 August 2012.
  11. "Burn, baby, burn", The Economist, 15 April 2010.
  12. "Banned Gaza protest in Paris suburb turns violent, again", France 24, 21 July 2014.
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