Is Nantes in the grip of growing insecurity?

Nantes (Loire-Atlantique)

From our regional correspondent

Would this be the news item too much? Saturday, September 24, shortly before 6 a.m., a 40-year-old woman from Nantes was the victim of violence and gang rape by two drunk men. The facts took place on the esplanade of the old shipyards, converted into a major place of leisure in the city.

Currently in pre-trial detention, the alleged perpetrators, both of Sudanese nationality, were confused by the video surveillance cameras which bear witness to a scene of great violence. Aged 17 and 27, they were in a regular situation but unknown to the police,

“These facts are extremely serious but I am not sure that we can say that they are on the increase”, warns Renaud Gaudeul, public prosecutor of Nantes, during a press conference organized on Monday. If sexual assaults brought to the attention of the police have increased by 8% since 2021 and 32% since 2019, he specifies that these figures are to be taken with precaution. “They are largely explained by the freedom of speech of the victims and do not distinguish intra-family violence from violence committed in the street. »

But this news item occurs in a context where insecurity in the city center has been denounced for several years by the S2N association (Night security in Nantes). Founded by the manager of a bar and a security guard, it calls for a demonstration this Saturday 1er October, after a series of nocturnal attacks on bar and restaurant employees.

This meeting took on a new dimension in the light of the tragic news item on the island of Nantes. Municipal councilor for Les Républicains, Foulques Chombart de Lauwe calls for participation and denounces on Twitter a “accelerated degradation” in Nantes due to a “culpable inaction of the mayor”. The Nantes deputy of the MoDem Sarah El Haïry calls for a better equipped municipal police and reinforced video surveillance.

Deputy mayor of Nantes in charge of security, Pascal Bolo replies that the city already has 150 video protection cameras and employs 115 municipal police officers, while around twenty metropolitan police officers provide transport security. While 70 national police officers have just arrived as reinforcements, the city promises to recruit as many by 2024. Currently, 25 recruitments are underway for 2022.

“Before being operational, they must undergo training that does not depend on ussays Pascal Bolo. Inevitably, this causes the police presence on the ground to fall behind. » In addition, an ongoing social conflict prevents municipal police officers from being present between midnight and 2 am in the city.

With regard to crime figures in Nantes, the latest available report showed a decrease in property crimes in the Nantes conurbation between 2017 and 2021 and a slight increase in attacks on physical integrity, including sexual violence. “We are at the same level as cities like Strasbourg, Bordeaux or Nice, comments Pascal Bolo. The recent trend is even rather downward. The emotion generated by this news item is legitimate but Nantes is not a cutthroat! »

Emeritus researcher at the CNRS and founder of the Center for Research on Law and Penal Institutions (Cesdip), Philippe Robert emphasizes that « Insecurity alerts generally start from a spectacular news item, which a collective echoes and which, to pass on a national scale, relies on a media relay ». However, pointing out a municipality on its action in terms of security is, according to him, a « game of fools » : “We accuse a local player who does not actually have a lot of resources and skills in this area since the essentials go to the State. »

To get out of the controversies, it would be necessary, according to him, to carry out investigations of « victimization » at the local level, the only ones able to take the measure of a particular situation.


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