The towns in France that have suffered from the highest numbers of burglaries in the past five years have been ranked in a new study using official statistics.
A new list by Le Figaro looked at the burglary rates in towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants. It has been released ahead of the summer season, which is also the high season for burglaries.
Organised groups of gangs have been found to scour houses and flats in a given area, burgle various different properties over a few days, and then travel back to their home base or country.
Alain Bauer, professor of criminology at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, warned: “There has been an industrialisation of [burglar] practices.
“These are mainly organised gangs from eastern European countries, who come to carry out a short week of burglary, where they multiply their operations in a very limited area. These are experienced people, not just amateurs.”
This partly explains the soaring numbers of burglaries seen in some areas for no other apparent reason. Areas that are most popular with these organised gangs show up in the figures.
Using statistics from the Interior Ministry, Le Figaro ranked 444 French towns and cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, according to the average rate of break-ins between 2016 and 2021.
The ‘top’ 5 towns are:
1. Rezé (Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire)
- 20.68 (average number of break-ins per 1,000 homes in the 5 years 2016-21)
- 20.30 (number of break-ins per 1,000 homes in 2021)
- +163 (change in the number of break-ins 2016-21)
2. Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon (Rhône, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
3. Orvault (Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire)
4. Wasquehal (Hauts-de-France)
5. Tournefeuille (Haute-Garonne, Occitanie)
The town of Rezé, which has 42,000 residents, has been especially affected.
Jean-Christophe Faës, deputy for public tranquillity, told Le Figaro: "There has been, over the years, movement of this type of delinquency from Nantes to the surrounding communes.”
The town is now moving towards the creation of a municipal police force, following a consultative vote of the population. Two squats that were found to serve as a base for burglars have now been evacuated.
He added: "Each burglary is one too many but the feedback we get shows an improvement.”
The town also has issues with violence. Last August, thieves were caught red-handed robbing a store in a commercial area of the town. The perpetrators drove their car into the police, who had to fire 24 shots to stop them.
The rest of the top few towns on the list are mainly residential suburbs close to large regional cities, which are urban environments, but with less density than larger cities.
The interior ministry statistics can be found here.