Monday, March 1

The neighbors who watch over a neighborhood in the 17th district “are not a militia”

A group of neighbors – Oleg Elkov / Getty Images

  • After burglaries and snatching thefts, a group of neighbors has assembled in the 17th arrondissement to watch over the neighborhood.
  • For Atanase Périfan, deputy LR to the mayor of the district, it is not a militia. “Not at all, it’s not the Wild West! It is only neighbors in solidarity who have decided to be attentive, in no case fascists who seek to replace the police. “
  • The chosen one works “on the way in which we can move from a dynamic of annoyance to something positive”.

It all started with the theft of a Yoyo stroller at the end of 2020. Yet another pilferage in the low-cost housing estates of Tarn and Orne, between the gates of Asnières and Champerret in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. Exasperated, residents have decided to come together to watch over the neighborhood. They installed a camera in the building, created a WhatsApp group, participated in the arrest of three teenagers … An activism that makes some fear abuses. Atanase Périfan, LR deputy to the mayor of the 17th arrondissement in charge of solidarity mobilization and creator of the association
Solidarity neighbors on the contrary, defends the initiative that it has supported since its creation.

Who are these citizens who have come together to protect their neighborhood?

Good fathers of families overwhelmed by the increase in delinquency in the neighborhood. Since the start of the health crisis, there has been an increase in burglaries and snatching thefts, especially in the squares of Tarn and Orne, which are much less secure than the subdivisions of the surroundings. A 99-year-old woman was recently robbed, another was injured in her hand after her ring was ripped off. This collective was born about two months ago from an exasperation when a resident found his Yoyo stroller, stolen a few days before, on sale on Le Bon Coin. He responded to the ad and realized it had been stolen by a neighborhood kid. He then set up a small group on WhatsApp where about thirty vigilant neighbors warn each other when they see these young people prowling in the squares.

This corner of Paris is however not known to concentrate a major center of delinquency …

No, but since the start of the health crisis, young people who operated in tourist areas, the Champs-Elysées in particular, have fallen back on their own neighbors. This collective put a camera in the stairwell and realized that they were mainly teenagers who live 500 meters from their homes, some go to college or high school with their own children… C ‘ is an epiphenomenon of local delinquency, but they always come back to the same place, which creates a strong tension.

Sdo they define as a militia?

Not at all, it’s not the Wild West! They are not a militia, they are only neighbors who have decided to be attentive, in no case fascists who seek to replace the police. On the contrary, they appeal to them. Two weeks ago, they saw these young people enter the building, they called 17 and took up positions at the various doors of the building to prevent them from leaving. There was no violence, the three teenagers in question were arrested by the Bac which arrived very quickly.

But they were released without any charge being brought against them …

It’s true, they are minors and they had nothing on them except a few tools… and their notebook.

You are not afraid that the exasperation you describe will lead to serious outbursts?

So obviously, that was one of our fears. On the one hand, that a burglary or a theft turns out badly, on the other that certain inhabitants, under the influence of anger, decide to take justice themselves. So we had to think about how we could go from a dynamic of annoyance to something positive. With the mayor, we met the inhabitants of the neighborhood, some things were able to be implemented very quickly. They are now in direct contact with the police, a room has been allocated to them to make a house for neighbors at the foot of buildings because when people know each other, the feeling of insecurity decreases. We also met the social landlord, Paris Habitat, who had planned major security work in these squares in 2022. With them, we concluded that it was too late and that some work – such as the digital code break – could be engaged now. When residents work with public authorities, solutions emerge more quickly.



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