The police have rolled out in force, heavy handed at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Following last year’s crime spree, making a mockery of security up and down the Croisette, the festival organisers and local police are taking no risks. The heightened presence of both police and private security is very noticeable everywhere along and around the croisette and after last years gun scare security is armed and dangerous. Is Cannes now safer than ever?
Around 200 municipal cops are tracking the streets in Cannes in response to the massive thefts that occurred at the 2013 festival. The additional security has boosted police presence with around 400 private security guards positioned around the croisette and beaches, as well as police private guards are now also able to arm themselves – due to a new government permit.
Cannes has always been known for crime and it is easy to see why. The amount of wealthy people who flock to the Croisette each year and the ridiculous amount of money, power, possessions and glamour they bring with them is a sure fire target for those who either have less or have simply chosen a life of crime. Either way, the criminals who target Cannes every year will have to keep an even lower profile than usual and avoid a whole host of new measures to ensure that the rich are protected from these thieves and their devious plans.
Not only are there more cops, security and guns, the Croisette is also more covered than ever with CCTV cameras meaning that the authorities can keep an eye on everyone, tracking the movements and connections of criminals and ensuring that no one gets away with stealing during this years festival. A security committee was formed after the events of last year and action has been taken to avoid any mishaps this year.
No doubt most of this extra manpower and firepower will be concentrated on protecting the very rich so be extra cautious if you are just a regular person attending the Cannes Film Festival as the targets may not be so high profile this year. Hotel rooms, suites, parties and apartments are all potential places to get stuff grabbed and if the criminals are avoiding the biggest hotels and shops this year, then they may be more inclined to steal from everyone else.
The arming of security and police is in response to last years events, when one of the robbers was fleeing the scene they fired gun shots into the air causing chaos on the crosite. They managed to pull off million dollar heists from some of the biggest hotels on the Croisette. Even after the festival finished, their reign of pinching continued with a $136 million robbery taking place at Carlton Hotel. Much of this was jewellery that was likely modified and sold on quickly by criminal networks that are scarily well organised and efficient at what they do.
So the big question is, will the guns and extra cops help the situation and will people feel safer this year? The presence of police should be reassuring but the sight of firearms on the streets is never particularly welcome. It will be interesting to see if crime does go down at this year’s festival though anything less than the multi-million heists of last year is highly likely. While Cannes may have a bit of a reputation for crime, it is unsurprising given the shocking inequality on display.
It will certainly be tougher than ever for criminals to get away with robberies this year and the prospect of getting shot is bound to make a few think twice before planning anything dangerous. If you’re in town for the festival, then please be aware and be safe and enjoy the party.
About the Author
Pete Turner is a Senior Reporter