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Burglaries, violence, sex crimes in France increase after Covid dip

The increase in break-ins was particularly marked in Brittany and Pays-de-la-Loire - however most figures are still lower than before the pandemic

Break-ins fell by 20% in 2020 at the height of the Covid lockdowns, remained low in 2021, but rose by 11% in 2022 Pic: NeydtStock / Shutterstock

Burglaries are still below pre-Covid levels, according to recently released national crime statistics but incidents are rising.

Break-ins fell by 20% in 2020 during the height of the Covid lockdowns, remained low in 2021, but rose by 11% in 2022.

Dordogne burglaries and drug offences rose

The increase in burglaries was particularly marked in Brittany and Pays-de-la-Loire.

In seven departments, home break-ins rose by more than 40% in a year – Mayenne, Hautes-Alpes, Ille-et-Vilaine, Calvados, Creuse, Morbihan and Tarn. 

Conversely, 11 departments saw the number of burglaries fall, including Hérault, Gard, Nord, Allier and Alpes-Maritimes.

In Dordogne, burglaries were up 7.9%. However, the department, not known as a crime hotspot, saw its biggest percentage rise in the number of people caught using drugs – 812 cases, representing a 37% rise on 2021.

Read more: Calls for harder line on drug driving after French actor’s crash

The interior ministry said that letting police issue fines for drug offences, instead of the matters always going before the courts, led to an increase in the number of recorded cases.

Another department with a high level of second-home owners, Manche, had 636 houses broken into in 2022, up 11.4%. 

Here, the biggest percentage rise was in stolen vehicles, with 408 cases last year, compared to 247 in 2021, a rise of 65.2%.

Read more: Why was court ‘lenient’ in sentencing over Dordogne homejacking case?

Domestic violence increased nationally

The 2022 statistics show a general rise in crimes recorded by police and gendarmerie in France, with the sharpest increases relating to inter-family violence (up 17% nationally) and sex crimes (up 11%). 

The interior ministry said this corresponds with a general trend seen over the past decade. 

It said: “Conditions have improved in the way victims are treated, and there has been a liberation in the way victims are able to speak out in the wake of the Weinstein affair and the MeToo movement.”

There were also a number of campaigns in France in 2022 highlighting domestic violence against women, which might have encouraged more people to come forward.

Political point scoring

The statistics have been the subject of much political point-scoring since their release. 

Within minutes of publication, president of Les Républicains Eric Ciotti tweeted that “after the chaos of migration, you have chaos in public safety”. 

Earlier, the interior ministry reported a rise in the number of titres de séjour given to immigrants in 2022, with 320,330 people granted papers, up 17.2% on 2021.

Assaults in Paris fall

Other national crime trends highlighted by the ministry are a rise in assaults outside the family (up 14%), fraud (up 8%), and murders, with 948 recorded last year, 69 more than in 2021.

The interior ministry said a rise in assaults, both within families and outside, on people over 15 years old was seen across the whole country.

Similarly, a rise in sex crimes and a rise in vehicle parts being stolen were also registered across all departments and regions.

However, the ministry noted that a significant fall in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis in assaults without weapons, a rise in Bouches-du-Rhône for stealing from cars, and a rise in Nord in stealing car parts could distort the national picture.

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