Home invasions: French police advise how to stay safe

Such break-ins have gained media attention after a spate of high-profile cases, but not only celebrities are being targeted

Several French celebrities have fallen victim to home invasions in recent weeks
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Home invasions have gained media attention after a spate of attacks at the homes of several French celebrities. We look at the current advice from the Police nationale on how best to stay safe.

Read more: Rise in ‘home-jackings’ in France: culprits trick way into houses

The disturbing phenomenon, which is known in French by the pseudo-anglicism ‘home-jacking’, has received increased media attention after break-ins at the homes of TV presenters Bruno Gillon and Anne-Sophie Lapix, and celebrity chef Jean-François Piège.

However, the vast majority of cases are not targeted attacks at the houses of celebrities, but rather ordinary burglaries gone awry, in which the perpetrators enter the residences of people they thought were absent, only to find them at home.

How to stay safe and avoid becoming a target?

  • Do not publish photos of the inside of your house online
  • Do not publish your holiday plans online
  • Do not publish updates while you are abroad
  • Do not leave any valuables visible from your windows
  • Do not let workers or delivery people see valuables
  • Use an alarm system
  • Fit automatic lights outside your home
  • Always lock your doors, windows and garden
  • Do not leave tools in your garden
  • Learn how to contact the French Police nationale: dialling 17 or by sending a text message to 114 (including for people who are hard of hearing)

Read more: 114 emergency number helps if you cannot communicate easily in France

What to do in the case of a home invasion?

Unlike normal burglaries, which happen for the most part in daytime (75%) between 14:00 and 18:00, most home invasions happen at night. Usually they only last a few minutes.

If you believe that a burglar has entered your home, do not panic or attempt to confront them. If you have an alarm system equipped with a panic button, use it, but also contact the police on 17 or by text to 114.

You must remain discreet, cooperate with the burglars and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Try to keep a mental note of the perpetrators’ characteristics, including their faces (if visible), clothes, speech and body language.

Which areas are most affected by home-invasions?

The departments around Paris (Ile-de-France) are most affected, with 19.3% of burglaries in 2021 happening in the region according to data from the Observatoire de la sécurité des foyers.

The second most affected region is Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (15%), followed by Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (10.8%).

Fortunately, the phenomenon remains rare. There were 515 home invasions (and attempted home invasions) in 2023, according to figures from the Office central de lutte contre le crime organisé (OCLCO).

While home invasions have received more attention of late, they have only increased by 8% since 2022, when there were 475 cases.

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