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Paris police move to defend tourists

Tighter security and more warnings as pickpockets and muggers target visitors to the capital

PARIS police have tightened security and taken other measures to fight crimes against tourists. The move comes after workers at the Louvre went on strike in protest at increasingly aggressive pickpockets and forced the museum to close for a day.

With 29 million visitors last year, Paris has seen a rise in pickpocketing, armed theft and muggings, as well as attacks on tourists, causing alarm and concern at home and abroad.

To combat it, some 200 police officers have been deployed daily since April across landmarks such as Notre Dame cathedral, the Champs-Elysées, the Louvre and Montmartre as well as on metros and trains.

Police said they were also speaking to tourism experts and embassies to "draw up a list of hotels around which security is required".

Messages warning tourists of potential pickpockets will be broadcast on buses running between Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport and the city centre. Such messages in English, French, Spanish and Japanese already feature on underground trains.

Tourists will alse be told how to report such cases and police plan a simplified report in a choice of 16 languages.

A free guide on safe sightseeing will be made available more widely with Russian joining existing versions in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

The Chinese embassy recently reported an increase in the number of complaints regarding muggings and other thefts on Chinese nationals, who are known for carrying big sums of cash, making them prime targets for criminals.

Several tourists were attacked in the recent violence that broke out at celebrations to mark football club Paris Saint-Germain's first French League win in 19 years. PSG fans ran riot near the Eiffel Tower, throwing smoke bombs, damaging bars and restaurants and attacking tourists.
Photo: ©Mark III

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