A French police officer, who works as part of a plainclothes team on the Paris metro to prevent crime, has claimed that the majority of sex attackers he arrests come from North African backgrounds.
The officer, named Fabien, is part of the special force of eighty or so police who travel the metro in plain clothes to prevent violent attacks and sexual assaults, Le Figaro reports.
According to Fabien, the sex assaults occur mostly on the 2, 4, and 13 lines of the metro, generally in the northern part of the city.
He said that the suspects can come from a variety of backgrounds and he has seen sexual predators aged 12 to 86, but noted: “for more than ten years that I have done this job, the suspects I have arrested are a very, very large majority from a North African origin.”
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“As for the victims,” he said, “they could be teenagers or retirees. And men too, more and more.”
Violence, including sexual violence, is becoming more and more of a problem for authorities in Paris. According to a survey of the Ille-de-France region where Paris is located, 43 per cent of violent sexual incidents occur on public transit and 87 per cent of female travellers say they have been the victims of some type of sexual assault or harassment in the past.
Drivers for the RATP, the company that operates the metro in Paris, have even said they will not stop at certain stations because of the risk of danger to passengers safety — and their own safety, as employees are often attacked as well.
Some, like mobile phone app designer Fabien Boyaval, have attempted to innovate ways of keeping women safer on French public transit, partnering with RATP to promote a chaperone app which allows travellers to meet with others while travelling on the metro or in dangerous areas, in order make attacks less likely.