The City of Light, of romance – and of pickpockets and muggers. Paris has put more feet on the beat in a bid to crackdown on a rising tide of crime against tourists.
The prime targets have been Asian visitors creating headlines back in China and prompting the Chinese embassy in the French capital to demand action. The government has responded.
“Paris is a safe city, but we are aware of this phenomenon – pickpockets, there is violence because forms of delinquency have developed in France and elsewhere,” said Manuel Valls, French Interior Minister
Two hundred police are now on patrol to protect tourists in the capital of the world’s most visited country, while a guide to staying safe in Paris has been produced in six languages.
“Before we came here, we heard a lot about it, that it’s really bad right now as far as pickpockets go,” said Julian Binenfeld a German tourist in the city, “So I left my money in the hotel safe and have just brought the minimum amount with me.”
Staff at the Louvre went on strike in April over a surge in pickpockets, closing the world’s most visited museum for a day. One Paris police official is reported as saying crimes against Chinese nationals jumped 22 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.