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Gang violence getting worse

Gang clashes are now more likely to involve use of weapons – including guns, and even children are involved

A GOVERNMENT unit to combat gang violence is being planned as evidence shows the problem is worsening and youths are becoming involved at younger ages than before.

According to Le Figaro which said it had consulted a confidential security forces document, gang violence caused six deaths and 252 injuries last year and incidents are almost a daily occurrence.

It said there were 313 main gangs, set up with the aim of fighting against rivals or police to control their part of town, security sources reportedly said.

Some incidents are said to relate to seeking dominance in drug pushing.

Others see people of one ethnicity attacking another, as at Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin) in September when around 40 Chechens fought against around 100 people of north African origin armed with weapons like flash-balls (rubber bullet guns) and hunting rifles. In another incident in Limoges people from Mayotte (Indian Ocean) were attacked with knives because they were accused of “not respecting the rules of the estate”.

In 74% of cases weapons were used in the clashes last year, up from 64% in 2010, the report said. Actual use of firearms was recorded 61 times, up from 43. However in other cases gang members carry “everyday” items like hammers, screwdrivers, crutches etc, to avoid arrest for carrying weapons.

The report said 56% of people involved were minors (under 18), up from 40%, and the latest trend in the Ile-de-France is gangs of under 13-year-olds imitating older peers.

Interior Minister Claude Guéant, who is visiting Cergy in Val d’Oise today in relation to this problem, is said to have recommended to the prime minister the setting up of a interministerial anti-gang mission, which would have the French acronym Milb. This would be on the pattern of Miviludes, a body opposed to dangerous cults or Mildt, involved in the fight against drugs.

Headed by an elected politician and a senior civil servant, it would carry out detailed analysis to find new operational solutions.

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