Professor: 2019 Worst Year for Homicides in France in Recent History

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French professor of Criminology Alain Bauer has claimed that 2019 has been the worst year for homicides and attempted homicides in recent French history.

Bauer, who serves as a professor of Criminology at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, said that France has seen a surge in the homicide rate in the last decade compared to a steady decline from the previous 500 years.

“The only reliable indicator since 1539 (and the creation of the civil registry by the ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts) is homicide mortality. It shows a collapse of homicide violence for five centuries… and a strong recovery over the past decade,” he told Le Parisien.

2019 was the worst year in terms of homicides, attempts (which are just failed homicides), wilful assault resulting in death, and settling scores, in France’s recent history,” Bauer added. 

Professor Bauer claimed that the rising levels of violence in France, particularly gang violence, come as the state has eroded its own ability to combat it.  

“Ten years ago, criminal organisations were afraid of security services’ power in France. Today, they dare to challenge it. But this crumbling is not the most worrying,” he said and added: “It is the inability to deal with ordinary, daily, and repetitive violence.”

“The interconnection between high-level and low-level violence is taking place and risks tipping the country into an unprecedented violent process, including through a citizens’ revolt to compensate for the withdrawal of the state” in peacekeeping measures, he said. 

So-called “vulnerable neighbourhoods” across France have seen violence and rioting since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Police have even allegedly told some residents to sort out their own problems or move house. 

When asked his greatest fears for the future, Bauer explained: “On the one hand, community militias to protect neighbourhoods, businesses; and on the other hand, attempts by drug traffickers or religious separatists to seize territories. Territorial recapture requires a return of trust between the state and citizens.”

“From the Yellow Vests to the refusal to comply with the wearing of masks, attacks on firefighters, doctors, nurses, local elected officials, etc, we can see how the social relationship has deteriorated. Violence becomes a normal part of life, due to the lack of recognised institutions people can trust,” he added. 

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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