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Creuse the Safest Place in France

Friday 15 May 2009

The department of Creuse in the Limousin has the lowest crime rate in France, according to recent official statistics.

A large number of areas in South West France popular with expats also have some of the lowest crime rates in France.

They include Vendee, Lot, Dordogne, Gers, Deux Sevres, Landes, Vienne and Pyrenees Atlantiques.

Outside of South West France, the departments of Cantal and Haute-Loire in the Auvergne, Ardeche in the Rhone Alpes, Aveyron in the Midi Pyrenees and Lozere in the Languedoc Roussillon also have low reported rates of crime.

The figures are contained in a report published recently by the Observatoire national de la délinquance (OND) on crime figures for 2008.

According to the report, the worst area for violent crime in France is the riot torn department of Seine-Saint-Denis, whose rate of crime almost outstrips that of Paris.

Other areas with high rates of violent crime are the Bouches-du-Rhone and Alpes-Maritimes, although in both cases the vast majority of incidents occur in their capital cities of Marseille and Nice.

The difference between the departments is very stark. Thus, whilst in Cantal in the Auvergne the of risk of violent assault is 1.3 per 1000 population, the risk is multiplied eightfold in Seine-Saint-Denis, far in excess of any other department.

Seine-Saint-Denis also has the worst record for wilful damage, with other departments in the north following in its wake – Marne, Nord, Yvelines and Val-de-Marne.

The risk of theft is highest in Bouches-du-Rhone, with a rate of 5.7 per 1000 population. The lowest risk occurs in Creuse in Limousin, with a rate of 0.8/1000.

Some of the more popular tourist destinations also have high rates of reported theft, notably Paris (54 per 1000 pop), Alpes-Maritimes (49/1000) and Herault (48/1000).

Paris, Alpes-Maritimes and Bouches-du-Rhone also suffer the highest rates of fraud (including credit card fraud), whilst the lowest rates were recorded in Creuse.

Overall, the report shows that whilst damage to property (including theft) is down by around 4% on 2007, violent crime is up by 3.3%, and fraud up by 8.5%.

These figures are based on crimes officially reported to the police, and adjusted following interviews carried out with a cross-section of the population.

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