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    Crime and security in Paris

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    Lluís Enric Mayans
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    Security in Paris: is it a safe city?

    Without going into the merits of international terrorism that potentially involves any city, the level of security in Paris is within the average of European metropolises. It is as safe a city as Milan or Rome. Live your holidays without scaremongering, but remember not to be too distracted and to follow the usual rules of common sense.

    There are two types of 'danger' in Paris : pickpockets and small scams against tourists and public order problems in overcrowded areas where poverty, immigration and unemployment generate frequent episodes of theft, drug dealing, violence and prostitution. These are areas you can safely avoid (especially at night), far from the main attractions of the French capital. We explain what happens in the city, the little pitfalls and scams , the scams, the areas to avoid . We give you useful tips and all the numbers to contact in Paris in case of emergency (including health).


    What happens in the city

    What the tourist could 'suffer' in the French capital refers to episodes of so-called petty crime : robberies, muggings, pickpockets, pickpockets, scams, small scams that can be avoided by knowing the mechanisms beforehand. In Paris, you will see many policemen on the streets, not only in cars but also on foot (in uniform and in civilian clothes). So far, more than a thousand cameras have been installed for security reasons.

    These are the little pitfalls you could get caught in:

    • If someone asks you to take their picture and then wants to return the favor, don't fall for it because they might run away stealing your camera or even your smartphone;

    • A woman may pretend to have found a valuable ring and, with the excuse of not being able to keep it for personal or religious reasons, try to sell it to you at an "affordable" price. In reality, the ring is worthless and she would do well not to stop even to talk to him;


    • It hardly ever happens that someone wants to help others, so when someone approaches you and offers to explain how to recharge the Public Transport Travel Pass, avoid giving them your card that could replace theirs (download);

    • Also avoid those who approach you asking for directions with fake English accents or groups of girls who, with the excuse of asking you to sign a petition, try to take your wallet or phone out of your pocket;

    • The three-card game is still in vogue with which expert scammers try to steal money from tourists with fake bets (you would lose for sure);

    • You may experience the fake fight provoked by street vendors to create confusion and rob tourists (happens in areas like Sacre Coeur, Trocadero , St Ouen / Clignancourt flea market) ;

    • Pickpockets and muggings in the metro, on buses and in crowded places are the order of the day, so be on your guard and be wary of people who, in one way or another, get too close to you;

    • Sometimes it is precisely in the busiest tourist spots (the safest and most guarded during the day) that pickpockets take advantage of a tourist's distraction to rob you. It happens in the elevators of the Eiffel Tower, in the rows of museums or inside, in the Lafayette and Printemps department stores, or along the Champs Elysées. Do not lower your attention threshold;

    • Be careful not to board an abusive and fraudulent taxi, with the intention of emptying the pockets of tourists with exaggerated fares or even stealing their luggage with the help of an accomplice.


    Dangerous or avoidable areas

    As well as reminding you not to wander in isolated and dark streets at night, you know that pickpockets and thieves roam the busiest places in Paris and on public transport, in museums, especially at rush hour, perhaps in Montmartre or in areas such as the Latin Quarter .

    Given that it is fair to be on guard everywhere and that there are no 100% safe areas anywhere, here is a list of areas to avoid (especially at night) in Paris or which, in any case, convey a feeling of less tranquility:

    • The Pigalle area ;

    • The area between the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero;

    • Le Halles and the Centre Pompidou ;

    • Metro stations such as Gare du Nord, Strasbourg St-Denis, Montparnasse Bienvenüe, Réaumur Sébastopol, Châtelet-Les Halles and Château Rouge (Montmartre). Remember that in all metro stations and along the corridors there are alarms to call for help;

    • Gare de l'Est;

    • The districts north of Montmartre (from rue Caulaincourt to boulevard Peripherique);

    • The Clignancourt-St Ouen flea market area;

    • The areas east of Montmartre, between Barbès - Rochechouart and Château Rouge;

    • The area between Les Halles and Pompidou;

    • The Bois de Boulogne;

    • The area between Réaumur Sébastopol and Strasbourg St-Denis;

    • The area north of the Villette basin;

    • The area south of Pere Lachaise and Porte de Bagnolet;


    • Some suburban districts of Banlieue.

    We invite you to follow the classic common sense advice during your stay in Paris:

    • avoid walking in dark alleys, do not isolate yourself from the more lighted and populated areas;

    • don't show too much money and precious objects;

    • leave your precious objects in the hotel safe, in fact it is preferable not to take them with you to Paris;

    • before leaving the hotel, ask to keep cash and unneeded credit cards, passport and other valuables in the safe and ask for the deposit receipt;

    • leave a photocopy of your valid identity card at the hotel, it could be useful in case of loss or theft;

    • Never withdraw cash from ATMs in the street that are too exposed, as you could run the risk of robbery. Use the internal and safer ones, present in hotels or museums;

    • Do not keep your wallet or mobile phone in the back pocket of your trousers or in the pocket of a bag in plain sight, it is preferable to keep them in the inside pockets:

    • always check your purse, wallet and your devices in crowded places and on public transport;

    • don't leave your phone, wallet or purse on a coffee table or bar counter;

    • don't bring people willing to sell you products, it could be the classic excuse of skillful pickpockets.

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