Marseilles has long been regarded as a crime-riddled blemish on France’s otherwise-sunny Mediterranean coast.But in the past year, the situation has rapidly deteriorated. According to France 24, some 26 physical assaults take place in the city each day.
In 2011, robbery was up 23%, burglaries 14%, and armed robberies 40%.
In the first quarter of 2011, the murder rate increased by 9% compared with the same period in 2010. There were 20 drug-related assassinations In the first nine months of 2011 according to the Guardian.
The root causes seem obvious:
- One in 10 Marseilles families are single-parent, three times the national average.
- One in three residents live below the poverty line.
- One in four lack necessary job skills
Le Monde recently profiled the city, showing how professionalized the trade has become. Sales at one location, “open daily from midday to midnight,” takes in an average of 15,000 euros (almost $20,000) a day from approximately 300 customers.
Drug dealers’ rule over certain neighborhoods is apparently so iron-clad that it actually prevented the Fall 2005 inner-city riots that swept across much of the country from flaring up in Marseille.
The police have practically given up. Over the last 20 years, the number of officers detailed to anti-drug forces has been halved, LeMonde reports.
The new developments are especially worrisome given Marseilles’s pending turn as Europe’s “Capital of Culture” for 2013. For the city to regain its reputation as the home of Daumier, Artaud and Zidane, some major changes will have to occur.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.