French opposition party blames “explosion” in Paris thefts on Romanians

paris metro sxchuSome politicians in France are attributing a so called explosion in thefts in Paris to Romanian criminals. The number of thefts reported in January 2013 compared to the same month last year increased dramatically – up 41.7 percent in the greater Paris area and up 58.9 percent in Paris intra-muros (the 20 arrondisements in central Paris), according to French newspaper Le Figaro.

Current French opposition party, the center right UMP, has blamed the rise in crime on the “Taubira effect on security,” referring to the Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. Although essentially a political attack on President Francois Hollande’s administration by former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, the UMP also specifically mentions criminals of Romanian origin. “The government’s lack of firmness in tackling criminals of Romanian origin has caused this latest multiplication in crimes,” said the UMP in a statement, quoted by French news service Le Point. The number of passengers robbed by pickpockets on the city’s metro and RER trains was also up by 58 percent, according to the French media.

The UMP also criticized Paris City Hall for “failing to dismantle insanitary camps at the gates of the capital,” reads the Le Point article. Without confirming the numbers, the Paris Prefect of Police Bernard Boucault said that results for fewer days were included in the January 2012 results, suggesting that this could have contributed to the apparent dramatic increase.

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