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Geography: The language of Europe - Le crime en France (Crime in France)

Geography: The language of Europe

Key questions

  • How can radar graphs be used to compare crime levels in selected EU countries?
  • Why are levels of hate crime higher in France than in other EU member states?
  • How is the EU tackling crime?

Key concepts

  • Place
  • Space
  • Scale
  • Interdependence
  • Physical and human processes

How can radar graphs be used to compare crime levels in selected EU countries?

Radar graphs are a type of thematic graph used to show several different bits of data on one graph. Rather than showing actual numerical data, these often show variation from a mean or average value.

In this case, eight sided radar graphs are used to show information for eight different EU crime and justice indicators. The graphs are from The European Safety Observatory's document The burden of crime in the EU.

Students are provided with graphs from five EU countries: The UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Hate crime is defined as ‘ideologically motivated personal violence', i.e. incidents where people have fallen victim to violent crime as a result of their race, colour, religious belief or sexual orientation.

The average scores for other EU member states represent the inner octagon, meaning that any variation from this is below (if inside) or above (if outside) average. Therefore, the extent of a country's deviation from the mean can be clearly seen for each indicator, judgements made as to the levels and severity of different crime issues, and allowing comparison of different countries.

By examining the graphs provided, students will find that France has the highest levels of hate crime, closely followed by the UK (which incidentally is not very good on other indicators either). Germany has about average levels of hate crime compared to the EU average. Spain has below average levels of hate crime and Italy has the lowest levels of all five countries.

Why are levels of hate crime higher in France than in other EU member states?

France is a low crime country and favours well compared to EU averages in most types of crime. However, the exception to this rule is hate crimes, and France stands out from the rest of the EU with the highest prevalence of such crimes amongst the member states.

The Human Rights First 2008 Hate Crime Survey provides hate crime profiles for 36 different countries, including many in the EU. The survey shows that France has decreased its overall number of hate crimes, but highlights several key incidents.

On 24 July 2008, French muslim Nouredine Rachedi was beaten by two men at Guyancourt in Yvelines in the north of France. Further information can be obtained from the Islam in Europe website. On 22 February 2008 Mathieu Roumi was subjected to an anti-Semitic and homophobic attack in the Paris suburb of Bagneux. This area has been the site of violent riots by immigrants in the past two years, and it became notorious as the scene of Ilan Halimi's three week torture and eventual murder in 2006. Further information can be found on the Haaretz website. Also, grave desecration has been on the rise since 2006 according to this report. In the first week of April 2008, the Notre Dame de Lorette military cemetery was targeted and 148 graves in the Muslim section were daubed with racist insults, swastikas, and even a pig's head. More details can be found in this New York Times article: Muslim graves desecrated in France.

Students are instructed to write a newspaper report about these incidents. They are given some guidance about how to approach this on the resource sheet. However, it is one of the hardest literacy skills they will have to master at Key Stage 3, and less able students may require more guidance. The following websites may prove helpful: ZigZag Education and BBC KS3 Bytesize.

How is the EU tackling crime?

The EUCPN is the European Union Crime Prevention Network and was set up in May 2001, following an EU council decision to try and promote the sharing of good practice and improve crime prevention strategies across the EU. Their website gives a lot of detail about their policies, programme and strategies. The yearly crime prevention award is a contest to reward the best crime prevention project.

In 2008, 12 countries entered the contest and the UK won with its MOPPIN up Dodge crime prevention project. The project was based in an eastern district of Preston called Dodge city, where high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour had been long-standing issues. Historical problems had led to a cycle of decline in the area, resulting in the social problems being experienced. The project aimed to reduce crime by enforcement, situational and social crime prevention. The project aims, objectives, methods and results are described in the project entry form which can be viewed in this EUCPN document.




Starter one: Geography

Comparing countries

In this lesson, you will be learning about a specific type of crime that is quite prevalent in many countries. It is called ‘hate crime'.

What do you think is meant by the term ‘hate crime'?

Watch this video clip. It explains the different types of hate crime and the results of a survey into where this type of crime occurs.

In this lesson, we will be concentrating on hate crime in the different countries of the EU, with a specific focus on France.

Now look at the comparing countries resource. It shows the levels of different types of crime in five EU countries using a type of graph called a radar graph. Follow the instructions given on the sheet and complete the sentences to describe the patterns of crime that the different graphs show.

Starter two: MFL

Le crime en France - crime in France

The crime en France resource gives you a list of fifteen key words to do with the topic of crime - in French. Your teacher will set you a time limit, and in that time you should, with a partner, try to find the English meanings of as many of these words as possible using a French dictionary.

Once your teacher has gone through the translations, if there is time you may be given five minutes to try to learn as many of the words by heart as you can before being tested again.

Your teacher may even give a prize to the pair who remembers the most words.



Crime reporters

In this activity, you will investigate some of the main hate crime incidents which occurred in France in 2008.

Imagine you are a reporter for the newspaper France Soir. You have been asked to write a short article on incidences of hate crime in France in 2008. Your article should include a map to show the location of each incident.

The crime reporters resource gives you more detailed instructions for writing your article.

You can research hate crime incidents in France on the Internet. Here are three links to get you started:

The resource also provides you with a blank map of France on which you should mark the location of each incident. You could also include a label with a brief description of what happened.

To make it easier to see where each incident happened, use an atlas to label some of the main human and physical features of France on your map.



Fighting crime in the EU

You may remember from lesson one that one of the main aims of the EU is to provide security and justice to citizens of member countries. Everyone has the right to feel secure and safe from crime, and justice should be done when crimes occur.

Discuss with the rest of the class what could be done to reduce and prevent crime in Europe.

Each year the European Union Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) gives out a ‘crime prevention award' to a successful crime prevention project in one of the member countries. In 2008, the award was won by a scheme in Preston, England, which aims to reduce antisocial behaviour in a neighbourhood nicknamed ‘Dodge City' locally. You can find out more about the winning entry on the EUCPN website.

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