Coronavirus: France registers sharp drop in crime during foreclosure

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The reported cases of theft, sexual violence and burglary have decreased in France since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official statistics.

The latest set of weekly delinquency figures released Thursday by the Interior Ministry also shows that crime figures increased last week as the country prepared to ease the lock restrictions first introduced on March 17 .

The most notable drop concerns non-violent thefts from people with some 4,000 victims identified last week, compared to 12,000 in the same week in 2019 and almost 14,000 in the first week of March.

Thefts involving vehicles have more than halved since the start of March to 4,500 last week. Law enforcement officials noted, however, that this was a “significant” increase from the previous week, when fewer than 4,000 cases were registered.

The number of victims of sexual violence, which was higher in the first week of March compared to the same period in 2019, has since fallen below last year’s count. Last week, the police killed 550 (-350 over a year).

Cases of violent theft of people and burglaries have also decreased significantly from year to year, decreasing by 1,100 and 2,400 respectively, although the latter increased slightly from the previous week.

The ministry’s report also notes that cases of assault and bodily harm to people over 15, which fell from nearly 6,000 to less than 3,000 between March 9 and March 29, have since increased steadily. Last week, 4,200 of these victims were registered, compared to 4,800 during the same period in 2019.

But the gap is even narrower for cases of assault and battery between members of the same family. Law enforcement agencies counted 2,200 victims of domestic violence last week, 100 less than the same week in 2019 and 200 more than the previous week.

Unlike other types of crimes identified by the ministry, the pattern of family violence was not lower than 2019 levels during the entire period of detention and was actually higher for most of April.

France introduced a strict ban on March 17 to contain the spread of COVID-19, confining all non-essential workers to their homes and only allowing travel to supermarkets and medical facilities. Those who broke the rules were fined.

The country began lifting restrictions on May 11, but travel across the country remains limited while rallies of more than 10 people are prohibited. Cafes, restaurants and bars remain closed and employees who may have been invited to continue working from home.

Almost 27,000 people died on Tuesday from the new coronavirus in France, and more than 178,300 cases were recorded, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. This makes it the fourth most affected country in the world after the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.

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