The number of murders and attempted murders in France has risen by 91 percent in the first 20 years of the century, criminologist Alain Bauer writes in daily Le Figaro.
“France is bogged down in endemic violence, of which the blood crime of murder is the ultimate expression,” Bauer writes, opening his article with the latest such case to hit the country.
On Sunday morning, a motorist in his thirties was shot by one or more killers who ambushed him in a residential area of Bourg-lès-Valence, in the Drôme region. The criminal investigation so far indicates the case was a vendetta killing.
According to the latest statistics of the French Ministry of Interior, the number of murders and homicide attempts was 4.472 in 2020, compared with 863 in the year 2000, which is a 91 percent increase, or a 113 percent increase compared with 1972.
How responsible is France’s growing migrant population?
Some evidence points to France’s growing migrant population accounting for much of the rising murder rates, but exact statistics are hazy. Last year, the National Observatory of Delinquency and Criminal Responses (ONDRP) revealed that nearly half of all crimes in Paris are committed by migrants, including violent stabbings. The report also found that the number of crimes carried out by unaccompanied youth increased by 22.7 percent since 2016.
However, what France does not record is the ethnicity of suspects. It is unclear how many suspects have migration backgrounds that run into the second or third generation, but are not listed as “migrants” in the statistics. In other countries like Switzerland, similar figures exist. For example, 58 percent of all convictions in that country are for foreigners, with the vast majority of those convictions for Middle Eastern, Caribbean and African men despite these groups representing a small share of Switzerland’s population.
A number of high-profile murder cases last year in France involving migrants prompted French philosopher and popular television commentator Eric Zemmour to claim the media refuses to report on the trend of rising migrant crime and crime from those with a North African or African background.
“The entire French society doesn’t resort to savagery. Then, what is it? We know who the savagery comes from,” he said. “We all know who commits these assaults. We all know who ran over the police officer Melanie. We all know who killed the bus driver in Bayonne. We know who breaks everything at amusement parks. We know who spoils the beaches of Marseille. We know who is forbidden in a swimming pool in Switzerland. We know all that. We know who it is: 99.9 percent are the children of North African and African immigrants,” said Zemmour, according to the RAIR Foundation, which translated his remarks on the Face à l’Info program.
Zemmour, an Algerian-born French Jew who previously worked for Le Figaro, was referencing crimes against French people by migrants or citizens of migrant descent, including Philippe Monguillot, a bus driver who was beaten to death by a group of young migrants after he asked them to wear their masks when they got on his bus without tickets.
In addition, he mentioned the case of officer Mélanie Lemée, who was deliberately hit and killed by an African male on a motorbike who was trying to escape a police checkpoint. In perhaps one of the most high-profile murders this summer, 23-year-old Axelle Dorier was killed in a brutal hit-and-run by Youcef T., who dragged her with his vehicle for nearly a kilometer and then left her to die.
Violence returns to the West
Bauer writes for Le Figaro that there is a “profound movement of return to physical violence, particularly in the West”, a phenomenon that is being “ignored or underestimated”. He adds that “the causes are multiple: the social crisis, the health crisis, calls for murders on social networks. Those who would be the most able to understand this pathological violence in society would be ‘the police and gendarmerie services, which are perfectly aware of it'”.
He also points out that contrary to expectations that violent crime would subside after the police response to the Paris and Nice terrorist attacks, the numbers continued to rise.
The 59-year-old Bauer is a professor of criminology at the French Conservatoire national des arts et métiers doctoral school in Paris, senior research fellow at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.