Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another Priority Zone

We've had ZEPs and ZUSs, and now we have the ZSP: Zone de Sécurité Prioritaire, Hollande's answer to the "security" concern that ranks high in the minds of French voters. What will distinguish the ZSP from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill neighborhood? Something like "hot spot policing" in the US: a concentration of resources in areas where crime is more prevalent, according to the statisticians. Is this just another form of pressure from the top to faire du chiffre? It's not clear. This is not an area in which I have any expertise, but opinions about the effectiveness of the strategy where it has been tried vary. The thousand or so new cops to be hired this year will mostly go to these areas, it seems.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As an American, I'm curious about a comparative perspective. As far as you know (or can recall from news you've read in the past), is France going through a crime surge over the past decade that's equivalent to the one America went through from the 1970s to the early 1990s? That increase in crime was demagogued by the US right-wing, of course, but it was an empirically verifiable increase. How about in France -- is it demagoguing totally disconnected from empirical trends?

Art Goldhammer said...

France has had a statistical increase in crime, but nothing comparable to the US. The issue has been abused by demagogues in France as well, however.

FrédéricLN said...

The key issue is to get policemen be assigned in areas where criminals also work. As far as the ZSPs will be a way to achieve that (even if it s "un chemin détourné"), it will be useful.

bernard said...

Though violent crime is far, very far from being at levels comparable (guns are not easy to acquire in France for your average nutter) to the present - relatively quiet usa -, the key analogy that I would suggest is the huge development of the illicit drugs industry and its domination of entire neighbourhoods. To be sure, we are talking by and large more in terms of marijuana etc rather than heroin, crack etc (though these too exist of course), but the point is that the marijuana economy is huge in France, and that is where it compares to the USA I think. Could be wrong though, I am not a specialist.

Anonymous said...

Where are the 15 zones?