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Burglaries in France down – but cybercrime up

Burglaries and car theft rates are falling but violent offences and cybercrime have risen, a new official national crime survey shows.

The study relates to 2018 offences and includes unreported crimes in an attempt to give a more in-depth picture than regular police statistics.

It reports that 490,000 main homes were burgled in 2018, a 14% drop on 2017 (560,000 homes) – but still much higher than the 349,000 homes in 2008.

If you add in second homes and other rented accommodation, 795,000 properties were burgled  in 2018 – around 2.7% of all homes in France, the  report by the National Observatory for Crime and Punishment (Ondrp) and the national statistics agency Insee found. 

Most burglaries took place in summer or around Christmas.

Christophe Soullez, director of Ondrp, said: “The causes of declines and increases are difficult to explain and there are several factors to consider.

“For burglaries, for example, residents have more equipment, more alarms, and are more protected but there may also have been more action taken by the police, who have dismantled groups of burglars.

“There is also a phenomenon of crime transfer. Offenders are turning more to cybercrime because it is easier. They take fewer risks and have a better chance of escaping justice.”

This is reflected in the figures, with bank fraud increasing to hit 1.2million households in 2018. The median sum stolen from a bank account was €150 but 13% of cases involved €1,000 or more.

The study notes this is an under-reported crime, with only 23% of cases investigated by police.

Figures on sexual violence outside the home fell from 265,000 in 2017 to 185,000 in 2018.

The increased 2017 figure was, in part, due to the rise of the #MeToo movement, the report notes, but the level of reporting of such crimes remains low.

Only 13% of rape victims and 21% of attempted rape victims filed a formal complaint, with two- thirds of those interviewed saying they decided not to because “it wouldn’t have made any difference”.

Physical assaults rose, with 693,000 people aged over 14 – 1.3% of the population – reporting that they were victims in 2018. Only 28% of victims said they reported the crime. While that figure has risen since the 2016 low of 575,000, it remains below the 875,000 victims recorded in 2008.

The study also examined perceptions of security among the population.

Around one in five (21%) of people reported feeling insecure in the area near to their home, rising to 29% in Paris and 26% among women and those aged 18-29. Meanwhile, 20% of people consider terrorism the greatest concern of 2019, a 10-point fall on 2018.

Poverty and unemployment were the next biggest concerns.

How do the statistics compare with the UK?

Bank fraud is also on the rise in the UK, with 2.6million offences committed between June 2018 and June 2019. Burglaries in the UK are less numerous, with 417,416 committed in that period

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