Fear about rising crime is one of the key issues in the current campaign for the French presidency and a topic that generates passionate debate in the other major democracies. Why is this?
In France, according to Sebastian Roché, there is too often a tendency to accuse the general public of being irrational and of feeling more insecure than is in fact warranted, and this despite the fact that the level of crime has risen substantially over the last twenty years. Criticisms of such feelings often serve simply to disguise the reality.
After giving various international comparative data on delinquency, showing that France is roughly at the midpoint in the European league table, he laments the inadequacy of the statistics on delinquency and stresses the relevance of studies carried by a team at the University of Grenoble which conducted the first large-scale survey of self-confessed law-breaking (presented elsewhere in this issue of Futuribles). He stresses the importance of getting those who commit these crimes to talk, to seek a better understanding of these phenomena, in order then to ensure that public policies in this area match their goals.