France has set a new record. One thousand one hundred forty-seven cars were burned during New Year's night. There are several news sources. The following is from Le Post:
A deceptive account. There is an impression of "calm", since there was no major incident to report. But this is counterbalanced by a negative find: 1147 burnt-out cars, or 30% more than last year, even though the police were out in force (35,000 men deployed). Two hundred eighty persons were arrested. Other than the burnt cars there was little to report. "Only four policemen were slightly injured," declared the Interior Ministry in its communiqué this morning, adding that "no damage to public or private property" was noted.
Europe 1 suggests that some of the cars were burned by their owners:
Gérard Gachet cites possible "insurance fraud" to explain the higher figures on New Year's Eve. "When cars burn in places where everything is calm," one may wonder if "certain persons" did not want to take advantage of the "new indemnity regulations" that are part of the law on compensating victims." He added that "the experts would be able to say upon examining the cars." (...)
In Toulouse, the police used tear gas around 1:00, a.m. to assist firemen on a call. Few incidents, however, were reported in the city, where about 30 cars were torched, compared to 28 last year (...)
Here's the funniest part:
Nicolas Sarkozy has just suggested that he would prevent arsonists from getting their driver's license so long as their victims have not been compensated.
Meaning, of course, that as soon as they are compensated, the criminal will have his license!
In the Parisian region, a police source insisted that "there was no urban violence". In the department of Seine-Saint-Denis "young people known for urban violence were summoned, about 60% responded to the call, and we placed them in custody,"explained Jean-François Herdhuin, director of public safety for the department. "No incident in particular," in Paris where 7000 police, gendarmes, military and firemen were mobilized, according to the police (...)
Taking it department by department, the greatest number of burnt cars was in Seine-Saint-Denis (130), then in the Bas-Rhin (91), Val-de-Marne (80), Val-Oise (68) and the Nord (65). (...)
According to Les Echos, the law on compensating victims of deliberate (as opposed, one assumes, to accidental) automobile destruction, was entered into the books this past October 1, sponsored by UMP deputy Jean-Luc Warsmann. It provides for an indemnity of up to 4000 euros for anyone whose car was destroyed by an arsonist, and who did not receive satisfaction in court. Also, those victims who did see the perpetrator convicted, but who are not adequately receiving the compensation determined by the court, can file an appeal with SARVI (assistance for victims of minor crimes). SARVI will take charge of the case and provide an advance payment of up to 3000 euros.
The French are regarding the burning of cars as minor crimes, so great are the numbers of vehicles destroyed. But the same happens here. Car theft, handbag theft, even muggings that do not result in physical harm, have become commonplace. And we allow teens to have their permit, if not their license.