The number of murders and attempted murders carried out by existing criminals across France increased by 25 percent in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year, leaving local media questioning the extent to which organized crime has a grip on the nation.
In the first six months of the year, 110 murders and attempted murders between criminals were recorded, up from 88 for the same period last year, according to a provisional count from the central management of the judicial police.
Commenting on the concerning rise, the Europe 1 French radio station asked to what extent “does France risk becoming a narco-state, like in the Netherlands where the lives of the prime minister and the Crown Princess are now threatened by the Dutch mafia?”
Murder and attempted murder was particularly deadly during the summer months, with June witnessing an increase of 53 percent on the previous year. According to Europe 1, investigators have suggested that the increasing sums generated by organized crime gangs through drug trafficking are resulting in the “increased radicalization of certain criminal organization.”
A French parliamentary intelligence delegation expressed its concerns in a report made public last week of a rise in the illegal drug trade which is understood to concentrate over 70 percent of organized crime activity in the country.
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Statistics published earlier this year for 2021’s crime stats revealed that drug trafficking was up 38 percent on 2020, with the number of traffickers arrested by French authorities also increasing by 13 percent.
Criminals are not the only ones facing elevated murder rates. In fact, the country has seen a general surge in murder rates over the last 22 years, rising 91 percent since 2000. In addition, France saw a dramatic increase in rape, drug use and physical assault in 2021.
Much of the illicit drug trade is conducted in the heart of French cities, with Marseille and Paris being particular strongholds for organized crime gangs, and the rise in homicides shows a worrying trend that gangs are either becoming more powerful, radical and bold, or law enforcement is failing to maintain order, or both.
High levels of immigration must be factored into the issue of organized crime. The same migratory routes are often used to traffic both drugs and people, and hundreds of organized crime gangs are understood to be working across France, whether it be to import drugs through routes via Nigeria, Libya and Italy into France, or to export people and drugs from France to the rest of Europe.
According to Home Office sources in the U.K., a number of Albanian-led organized crime gangs are operating in the north of France and remain integral to the continuing human trafficking taking place in the English Channel.