Paris to get 1,200 police cameras
French police will install the surveillance cameras on busy streets and delinquents’ favourite hang-outs over the next two years.
17 October 2008
PARIS -- French police will install more than 1,200 surveillance cameras in the next two years to beef up security in Paris, especially in the capital's poorer east side, officials said Thursday.
Video cameras will be set up on busy streets and in public areas that are known hang-outs for delinquents, Paris police said in a statement.
Between 50 and 70 cameras will be erected in each of Paris' 20 districts, with more promised for the east end of the capital where crime is slightly more of a problem.
Paris police chief Michel Gaudin is to present the new plan already approved by Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to the city council on Monday.
In all, 1,226 cameras will be training their lenses on Parisians by 2010 at a cost of between EUR 44 and 50 million.
There are currently hundreds of surveillance cameras in Paris operated by police, city or transport authorities -- far fewer than the many thousands that keep watch on London.
But Le Figaro newspaper, which obtained a copy of the plan, said it would nearly quadruple the number of cameras in public places.
Green city councillors oppose the plan, saying Parisians will be made to feel like they are living in a police state.
"This is not the way to restore the social fabric of the city," said city council member Danielle Fournier.
Mayor Delanoe, who is also running for the national party leadership of the opposition Socialist Party, initially opposed more police cameras, but reversed his position after Parisians broadly came out in favour of them.
Widely regarded as a generally safe city, Paris has seen a drop of 4.5 percent in delinquency this year, according to police figures.
But a recent spate of violence has occurred in housing estates in the multi-ethnic northeast including the savage June beating of a Jewish teenager.
The city's deputy for security, Georges Sarres, said the beefed-up surveillance will be installed in accordance with "the fullest respect for individual liberties."
[AFP / Expatica]