Paris Residents Threaten Vigilante Justice Amid Rising Criminality

TOPSHOT - An officer of the French rescue and protection police brigade (brigade de police

Residents of the 17th district of Paris have threatened to take security matters into their own hands if the police and the government refuse to deal with growing criminality.

Locals living in the Square du Tarn, mostly men in their 40s and 50s, say they have formed a collective to fight back against the growing insecurity in their neighbourhood posed by drug dealing and other delinquency.

“We’re all from the neighbourhood. We all know each other. As soon as we see danger, we warn each other on our WhatsApp group Neighbours Alert! We get organised, and we disembark,” one of the members told the newspaper Le Parisien.

“For now, we are in vigilance mode,” one of the men said and added: “We respect the law. But we’re not going to let ourselves be eaten up… We’re going to hit them!” he warned.

“If nothing happens, we will apply our own justice. For the moment, we are doing investigations. The group is growing.”

The group has previously worked with police and managed to help get a gang of burglars detained — but a police source claims the thieves were let go after just 24 hours in custody.

Several no-go zones across France have seen similar stories in which residents feel powerless to stop growing criminality and call on the police and government for help.

A report from August of last year revealed that many no-go zones have seen residents band together to form collectives to put pressure on the government to act. Some have even taken local governments to court and won cash settlements after inaction from authorities.

In one troubled area of the city of Montpellier, residents claimed that local police advised them to either pack up and leave or form their own vigilante groups, with one officer allegedly saying: “You need to have people in your residence who have the balls to go to the basement, to sort this out your own way, with the Corsican method.”

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


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