The mayor of the capital could have done without this early return to school. After a violent incident - which went viral on social networks - between security guards and an individual on avenue de la Gare on Saturday evening, Lydie Polfer (DP) reaffirmed her determination to deal with the crime and violence, which she says is clearly linked to drug trafficking.
"This is another case of the intimidation of security guards. Intimidation that also happens to our social streetworkers from the 'By Your Side' project who work in violence prevention. Drug dealers intimidate and harass security guards and streetworkers. I have more than 65 videos that show this. This violence is now a daily occurrence. The dealers are starting to defend their territory and the situation is very worrying," said the mayor.
"What should we do? Give up? Should we play along with them? Should we give them reason? That is exactly what we should not and cannot do,” the mayor promised.
We are in a very violent environment.
As for the video showing a security guard struggling to control his dog, the mayor refused to incriminate private security company G4S, which has a contract with the city to patrol streets in the Gare neighbourhood. "An investigation is underway. The dog and the agent will not be in the field until the investigation is completed. We have been working with security guards for years, especially in the city's parks. We have never had an incident like the one at the station. Here, we are in a very violent environment," said Polfer, justifying her policy.
Since the beginning of the year, the mayor says has taken the issue of security in hand. Last April, she signed the €380,000 euro contract with G4S for six months to patrol the station area and try to manage delinquency.
In addition to rude behaviour and assaults, residents of the station area are often confronted with used syringes on doorsteps or in gardens.
Relying on video surveillance
But Polfer refuses to point the finger at the police and says she is not naive. "I knew very well that putting security guards on the street would not solve the entire problem. It's the whole thing. We discussed it at length for hours and hours in public discussions in the Chamber of Deputies. The ideas of the security agents was to provide the police with the means, in terms of men and equipment, to really have better control over the situation. I insist [we need] video surveillance. It's incredible that we don't have video surveillance in the avenue de la Gare, a recurrent location for danger. Once again, this will not solve everything, but video surveillance can help the police. With video in the avenue de la Gare, we would have seen the whole scene that took place over 20 minutes and not just a few violent seconds. I have already asked the minister several times about this. But we have a minister who is not in favour of video surveillance,” the mayor said.
Polfer concluded: "We are also working on the social aspect, because we know the human misery that lies behind this problem of delinquency. But we cannot forget the quality of life of other citizens, which is in danger,” the mayor stressed.
This article was originally published in French by Paperjam, and has been translated and edited by Delano