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Burglary, assault, car theft: where are crime rates lowest in France?

A new report shows the places with the least (and most) reported incidents from 2017 to 2021

Photos of views of Annecy, Angers, Nancy, and Strasbourg in France

Annecy, Angers, Nancy, and Strasbourg were among the cities to have the lowest levels of recorded crimes across house burglaries, car theft, and armed robbery Pic: TMP - An Instant of Time / saiko3p / olrat / Belyay / Shutterstock

Annecy, Angers, and Nancy are among the cities in France that have seen the most improvement in crime levels from 2017 to 2021 and have the lowest incidents of reported crime, a new study has shown.

The report from the Interior Ministry statistics service, le service statistique du ministère de l'Intérieur (SSMSI), has this week published the results from its report into crime and delinquency town-by-town.

While the report focuses on the areas in which crime has grown or been reported the most, it also reveals the major cities and towns where delinquency is on the decline, and the cities with the lowest reported rates.

Newspaper Le Figaro has compiled the results on a series of interactive tables (see the full versions and stats here), highlighting where crime was the worst or rising the most. 

Here, we look at the figures in reverse to see where crime levels are lowest, among the cities and towns included in the report.

The list included two rankings for each category: the 40 largest cities and towns in France, and 374 smaller towns and cities.

It comes as Annecy also made the top 10 on the 2021 list of the Top 500 best places to live in France, while Angers was ranked the best smaller town to live in.

House burglary

The cities with the least number of burglaries on the list were Nancy (17.32 per 100,000 inhabitants), Strasbourg (19.88), Angers (20.86), Rennes (21.51), and Brest (23.4). 

Of the smaller cities in the list, burglaries were lowest in Ajaccio (6.97), Beaupréau-en-Mauges (8.47), Bastia (8.57), Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (10.69), and Fougères (10.71).

And while Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, and Grenoble were at the top of the table for the major cities with the most number of burglaries per inhabitant (at 80.57, 74.39, 62.93, and 62.21 respectively) some of these cities also saw a very sharp drop in the number of these crimes over the 2017 to 2021 period.

Grenoble saw a 52.5% drop, Toulouse a 31.9% drop, and Lille 13.9%. In contrast, Aix-en-Provence saw a rise of 16.4%.

Other major cities to have seen a drop in burglaries include Montpellier (-26%), Perpignan (-23.9%), and Lyon (-26.5%). 

Car theft

The cities with the least recorded car theft on the list were Mulhouse (12.61 per 100,000 inhabitants), Strasbourg (12.66), Nancy (12.7), Orléans (12.7), and Dijon (14.46). Thefts were on the decrease in all of these cities except Dijon, at -9%, -14.3%, -33.8%, and -45.1% respectively. In Dijon, it was up 3%.

The cities with the highest reported car thefts were Marseille (71.71 per 100,000 inhabitants), Saint-Denis (49.15), Aix-en-Provence (48.28), Lille (45.65), and Nîmes (43.3).

Among the smaller towns on the list, the fewest car thefts were reported in Haguenau (8.63), Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (8.07), Rambouillet (7.92), Chemillé-en-Anjou (7.34) and Beaupréau-en-Mauges (7.27).

The most reports among smaller towns came from Orly (69.94 per 100,000 inhabitants), Villeneuve-d'Ascq (68.52), Arcueil (65.02), Vitrolles (60.39), Les Pennes-Mirabeau (57.21).

Armed robbery

The places with the lowest risk in the report were Annecy (0.99), Angers (1.1), Metz (1.21), Limoges (1.23) and Nancy (1.33). 

In contrast, the places with the highest incidence of armed robbery were Saint-Denis (10.66 per 10,000 inhabitants), Marseille (6.21) and Grenoble (5.4), 

The majority of the smaller towns and cities did not have a single reported case of armed robbery, but of the smaller cities in the list with any reported armed robbery, the fewest reports were in Antibes (1.39), Noisy-le-Grand (1.32), Pau (1.1), Mérignac (1.06) and Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (0.99).

The highest reports in the smaller towns came from Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (7.42), La Courneuve (6.57), Stains (5.31), Aubervilliers (4.81) and Clichy-sous-Bois (4.42).

Sexual assault

The cities with the lowest levels of sexual assault were Annecy (8.03 per 100,000), Argenteuil (8.02), Villeurbanne (8), Saint-Étienne (7.73), and Boulogne-Billancourt (5.03). 

Yet, this presents somewhat of a mixed picture, as the number of reported victims has soared in most places over the 2017-2021 period, with reports up 106.9% in Boulogne-Billancourt, 62.2% in Saint-Étienne, 64.7% in Villeurbanne, 90.2% in Argenteuil, and 74.1% in Annecy.

In the smaller towns, the fewest reports were in Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt (4.16 per 100,000 inhabitants), Le Cannet (4.07), Chatou (4.04), Le Plessis-Robinson and Yerres (4.44). Similarly, most of the smaller places had also seen an increase in reports of sexual assault.

The largest number of reports in the smaller towns were in Armentières (19.62), Béthune (19.25), Angoulême (19.01), Arras (18.11), Bruay-la-Buissière (17.92). Again, reports were up everywhere, especially in Béthune (+109.1%).

Of course, it is not clear whether the increased levels represent more crime per se, or simply more people coming forward to report it.

The rankings also included figures for the crimes of domestic violence, non-armed robbery, non-armed physical assault, and total violent theft.

See all the tables, for both cities and smaller towns, across all categories, compiled by Le Figaro (in French), here

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