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Are the French whiny bitches?

by Lupin Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 07:05:18 AM EST

I've only been here for two thears and I'm certain the subtler points of French society escape me just as surely as most French don't understand America.

But I read in my local rag this morning that the major (or one of...) issue in the current Presidential campaign was "insécurité" which I guess we would translaste as crime.

My question is: what insécurité?

Really. What a bunch of pussies.

When I left LA, we had a  freeway killer (AFAIK still at large) who randomly shot people in their cars during their morning commute.  To keep people happy, our sheriff pointed out that, even with said FK, we still had fewer violent deaths than the year before.

Also, to me, the Frenbch Police already has so much more power than it needs... How much more does it need?

Besides, if the French are so concerned about insécurité, why then vote for the Sheriff (Sarkozy) who was in charge of Dodge?

That makes no sense at all.

make no sense at all. But they seem to work.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 08:35:58 AM EST
No, major US cities such as New York, LA, Chicago, and Houston are just in a class by themselves when it comes to crime. Even other US cities don't have the same attitude and experience. You're from LA, so you're jaded, have seen worse, and have a different level of "commonsense home and personal security" behavior. Take an area that isn't used to crime or has a "safe" reputation and put it through a rash of burglaries or robberies, and you'll probably find people a little more worried just because they aren't used to it. But you're going to be left wondering, "What crime wave?" The candidates are just using this difference in past experience to their advantage.

(To be fair, there are aspects of safety that Europeans have a better handle on than Americans, so we certainly don't win as most street-smart in the world. We're just used to hearing about crime more, I think.)

by lychee on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 12:26:31 PM EST
NYC and LA's murder rates are both fairly low for large UC cities. Of course in any urban area, the risks vary dramatically based largely on the median income of the neighborhood.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 01:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should be US, not UC.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 01:44:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The actual rate sometimes doesn't have to do much with it. It's the perception. LA was and is perceived to be "dangerous" compared to other cities, and behavior adjusts accordingly. Not to mention there seems to be more of a "there's always a first time" attitude in LA whenever someone says something's never happened. I was born and raised in a fairly tame part of LA but was still taught from an early age things like don't open the door to strangers, lock my door, etc. When I moved out of LA, I was surprised to find people in major cities who thought just because they were home, they didn't have to lock their door. They perceived the city they were in as safe regardless of the actual (and existing) crime rate.
by lychee on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 09:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perception and normalization of risk are two different things, but as perception creates the mental model they do work together.

When I was a Freshman at the University of Minnesota (in Minneapolis), I met a number of girls from rural areas of Minnesota whose parents assumed that their lovely little daughters would be raped by the first black male that crossed their paths and implored them to be inside before dark. As an 18 year old having spent my entire life in Minneapolis I didn't believe them at first.

I don't think I have a point here, this thread just reminded me of all the laughs I got out of those conversations.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 10:37:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Wed Apr 11th, 2007 at 12:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an opportunity for me to clarify something.  I have a friend who lived with his family in the suburubs of Paris.  He is American, and they were there on an expatriate assignment.  He was upstairs watching TV one evening, his family was out, he heard some noise downstairs, and went downstairs to find a burglar.  The guy took what he had in his hands and left quickly.

My friend said this was a not infrequent crime in his area, which was certainly a nice area--probably upper middle class.  He said his neighbors had told him that.  The general feeling was that it was a problem, but that there was no risk of violence.  Burglars weren't there to hurt you, just to steal something.  His feeling, which I'm sure was not based upon statistics, but more on intuition, was that this low level of crime was more common in the suburbs of Paris than in the suburbs in the San Fran Bay area of northern California.

I've always wondered if his intuition was correct, but never thought to bring it up to anyone.  (I certainly agree with your comments regarding more violent crime--and I also lived in LA a few years back.)  But I'm wondering if my friend just experienced a one-off incident that obviously can happen any where in the world, or if his neighbors were correct about a high level of non-violent crime, and his intuition correct that it was higher than a comparable US suburb.

by wchurchill on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 01:26:51 PM EST
Let's look at the stats

Apparently France and US are similar when it comes to burglaries... Non violent crime levels are apparently similar between the two countries (car thefts numbers are also equivalent). Of course, upper middle class quiet suburb in Paris is the perfect place for a burglar. (The big difference being that if you meet the burglar in France, he'll flee, whereas it might be more likely to end up in violence in the US, with guns around and all that)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 06:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks, and thanks for the reference.  my friend actually made the opposite point regarding the guns.  he thought that in the US burglars were pretty careful about coming into an occupied home, because they home owner may be armed.  but he also thought burglaries were higher in France, which the statisitics you quote refute.
by wchurchill on Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 07:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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