Shops Disappearing from French No-Go Areas over Security Issues

A man walks in a street of the social housing complex of the Chêne-Pointu, in Clichy-sous-Bois, in the suburbs of the French capital Paris on February 4, 2020. - Most of the residents of the 'Chêne-Pointu' housing estate did not see the film that was shot in front of their …

A survey released by the French Court of Auditors has warned of the increasing disappearance of local shops from vulnerable, impoverished no-go areas across the country due to security issues.

The survey described a “phenomena of withdrawal” of businesses from some of the estimated 1,500 disadvantaged neighbourhoods where the poverty rate is three times higher than the average for metropolitan France.

The Court of Auditors noted that no-go areas are not attractive for business investment due to the “low purchasing power” of residents and “acute security issues”.

A senior official of the Ministry of the Economy told newspaper Le Parisien that few companies set up shop in no-go areas, except for very small businesses that often are not hiring.

“After their closure, businesses are frequently replaced — sometimes deliberately, sometimes for lack of an alternative — by local associations,” the Court of Auditors report states.

The report adds that the lack of local businesses has a spiral effect that leads to a shortage of local jobs. The auditors warned of growing communitarianism, “fueled by a feeling of exclusion and relegation”.

Communitarianism is a term often used in France for migrant parallel societies and was applied to describe around 150 neighbourhoods said to have been taken over by Islamists in a leaked French intelligence report earlier this year.

Insecurity in no-go zones in the past in France has led to other businesses limiting their operating in those areas.

In 2017, the courier service Chronopost announced it would be refusing deliveries in the no-go Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis due to safety concerns for its couriers after 51 employees had been attacked while going about their rounds the previous year.

A year later, the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), the company that runs Paris’s public transportation system, said its drivers would not be stopping at certain no-go area stops in the north of the city due to security fears for employees and passengers.

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


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