Statistics published by France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) show that last year the number of recorded cases of physical attacks on the country’s public transportation systems rose by 14 percent compared to the previous year. Additionally, non-violent robberies jumped 17 percent, while violent robberies increased by 7 percent compared to 2015 levels.
Last year, 121,000 robberies occurred on France’s public transportation systems, which means an average of 330 passengers per day had possessions stolen from them while using public transport.
When location is factored in, 23 percent of robberies and attacks took place in the Paris area.
A fortnight ago, two males carried out a random knife attack on a passenger on the Paris Metro, causing panic. In September last year, a Taiwanese tourist sustained serious injuries after becoming embroiled in an altercation with an individual at a RER suburban line station.
Similar cases have occurred across the country, causing users of public transport to feel scared for their safety.
Although CCTV cameras are installed along the passageways and platforms of metro stations, passengers’ luggage and bags are not being checked, nor are they required to pass through metal detectors, which may have created a security loophole.
According to a report in Le Figaro, Valerie Pecresse, President of the Parisian Regional Council of France, has written a letter to the Ministry of the Interior to request that police officers carry out regular security patrols on the Paris Metro network.
In the letter, Pecresse also wrote past experience has shown that a police presence on the Paris Metro also prevents drug users for loitering in passageways and that, to her knowledge, security guards employed by public transport operator RATP Group are regularly threatened by drug users.
(CNA, translated by Edward Jones)