Video of what has been reported as an attack involving Kalashnikov rifle fire in the French city of Nîmes was posted on social media.
The attack, which took place on Sunday evening in the Pissevin district of the city, is said to have seen around 40 shots, causing material damage but no injuries or fatalities according to local police, French newspaper Midi Libre reports.
According to the paper, the gunfire was identified as coming from one or more Kalashnikov rifles and stated that police forensic investigation teams were on site shortly after the shooting, with the Regional Judicial Police Service (SRPJ) taking over the investigation on Monday.
— Damien Rieu (@DamienRieu) January 26, 2020
The Pissevin district has seen several shootings over the last several months. In June a shooting took place at the Richard-Wagner gallery and later in October another shooting occurred in the same area which saw a man wounded and taken to hospital after being shot in the leg.
Following Sunday’s shooting, Prefect of the Gard Didier Lauga reacted to the incident saying: “These shots must not be trivialised.”
Military-grade firearms have become more and more common across France’s criminal underworld, with police raids in the last several years turning up not only Kalashnikov rifles, but other items including anti-tank rocket launchers.
In 2019, France saw a surge in violent crime with homicide cases increasing by 8.4 per cent for a total of 970 victims, according to statistics from the French Interior Ministry.
Professor of Criminology Alain Bauer noted that the statistics were the “worst record we have seen in years”.
France Sees Surge of Rape, Murder, and Violence in 2019 https://t.co/q2bgDv2SkY
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“All types of violence are concerned, raising fears of a return to almost 40 years ago, at least on the grounds of homicides and attempted homicides,” he added.
Rising levels of violence and crime, particularly in the no-go suburbs in various French cities, which often also have high migrant-background populations, has raised fears among some that the violence could spill over into a civil conflict.