Almost five years after the French presidential election campaign of 2002, in which the main focus of debate was on questions of security, how are the French public as individuals dealing with maintaining law and order? Are they basically passive, waiting for the state or the proper authorities to do everything necessary, or are they becoming personally involved?
Contrary to the image one might have of the French as reluctant to "collaborate" in the maintenance of order, the French public is becoming increasingly active in this area, according to Olivier Hassid. Analysing the four main ways of participating (being watchful, alerting the police, protecting themselves and speaking out), Hassid shows how much people are involved, whether directly or indirectly, expressly or intuitively.
He goes on to look at international comparisons, which suggest that although the French are far less active participants in the maintenance of law and order than, for example, the Americans, they are by no means totally passive and their involvement could well increase, given the growing public concern with regard to these problems.