French consul to Dot kids: Don't blame me because your neighborhood's unsafe

The Globe reports the French consul in Boston visited the Codman Academy Charter Public School to tell students his gouvernment will only stop warning its citoyens to avoid Dorchester when it becomes safe.

But le dude said it could be done: He noted France no longer warns people to avoid the Combat Zone.

Sacre bleu: French government warns citoyens to stay out of Dorchester and be wary of purse snatchers in the North End.



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    in any way, shape or form was their travel advisory an unfair representation of those neighborhoods. The three have always (In my lifetime) been riddled with crime.



    It wasn't.

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    As a resident of one of those neighborhoods, it wasn't inaccurate. Boston folks just like to overreact to shit like that.


    Consul General

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    If you just write "Consul" you've demoted him. The Consul General is the top person. Consul is lower.


    This is making me laugh.

    This is making me laugh.

    If I had friends visiting Boston and they asked me where to go/not go, I think I would be a bad friend if I didn't tell them, "Well, I wouldn't hang around too much in these particular parts of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan"

    Maybe instead of complaining to the French Consul, they would be better off working with city officials and neighborhood groups to clean up the neighborhood and make it safer? I'm glad the representative was honest, “The solution probably does not consist of ‘shooting the messenger,’ ” he wrote, “but in making sure that neighborhoods that suffer more than others from crime benefit from improvements in their situation.”



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    These kids' teachers and communities are doing them an enormous disservice. When I was growing up in a high-crime area, I would also say things like, "Every neighbourhood has its flaws" and "It's unfair to single us out". When I finally moved to a safer place I really resented how I'd been lied to. Kids, your neighbourhoods are not safe. It's not a slight, it's not a racist statement, it's not media focus - it's statistics. Obama can visit because he has security.


    Another Consideration

    There is a huge difference between a local and a tourist wandering an area with a recent history of street crime. For example, would a foreign tourist know to pull a street box alarm? Would they know that if they call 911 from a cel phone they will need to ask for the right city/area they are in?

    Architecture and upkeep of houses aren't the best clues about what is safe, either.

    The Counsul General is right: the concern should be for the pockets of trouble, for the sake of the local citizens, not on the "bad reputation" for tourists.



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    The consulate is not going to advise its citizens "Codman Square is usually okay...but Upham's Corner isn't good at night and Grove Hall is rough too, oh and as long as you're on the north side of Mass Ave, you're probably fine, but there's a few blocks on the other side along Tremont that's okay too, but don't go past the police station...", etc.

    No, it's just going to advise: "Stay out of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan at night." or whatever that is simple and clear.


    Oh, for Pete's sake....has no

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    Oh, for Pete's sake....has no one explained to these kids, and more surprisingly, their educators, that warnings like these from foreign governments have existed for years, are not limited to neighborhoods in Boston, nor to cities in the United States? Here is what the U.S. State Department tells our citizens planning a trip to France on their website:

    '...The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, involve pick-pocketing, residential break-ins, bicycle theft, and other forms of theft with minimal violence. However, as in any big city, robberies involving physical assault do occur in Paris and other major urban areas. Visitors to congested areas and known tourist sites (e.g., museums, monuments, train stations, airports, and subways) should be particularly attentive to their surroundings. Crimes against visitors are generally crimes of opportunity, though these crimes are more likely to involve violence on the street late at night or when the victim detects the theft and resists the criminal. As in any major city, women should exercise extra caution when out alone at night and/or consider traveling out at night with companions. In general, Paris taxis are safe and professionally operated, but there has been an increase in reported harassment and assaults on women by taxi drivers.

    Caution is required throughout France when driving through economically depressed areas where there is a high incidence of “smash and grab” robberies. Thieves will approach a vehicle that is stopped in traffic, smash a window, reach into the vehicle to grab a purse or other valuable item, and then flee. Keep doors locked and valuables out of sight.

    There is generally an increase in the number of residential break-ins in August, when most French residents take vacation, and in December. The majority are attributed to residents not using security measures already in place, including double-locking doors and locking windows. Home invasions are often preceded by phone calls to see if the resident is at home. Often thieves who manage to gain access to the apartment building will knock on apartment doors to see if anyone answers, offering the excuse they are taking a survey or representing a utility company.

    Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities. Violent crime is relatively uncommon in the city center, but women should exercise extra caution when out alone at night, and should consider traveling out at night with trusted companions. There has been an increase in reported sexual harassment, and sometimes assault, by taxi drivers.

    Pickpockets are by far the most significant problem. In addition to purses and wallets, smart phones and small electronic devices are particular targets. In Paris, pickpockets are commonly children under the age of 16 because they are difficult to prosecute. Pickpockets are very active on the rail link (RER B) from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center. Travelers may want to consider using a shuttle service or one of the express buses to central Paris rather than the RER. In addition, passengers on metro Line 1, which traverses the city center from east to west and services many major tourist sites, are often targeted. A common method is for one thief to distract the tourist with questions or disturbances, while an accomplice picks pockets, a backpack, or a purse. Schemes in Paris include asking if you would sign a petition or take a survey, and presenting a ring and asking if you dropped it. Thieves often time their pickpocket attempts to coincide with the closing of the automatic doors on the metro, leaving the victim secured on the departing train. Many thefts also occur at the major department stores (e.g., Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and Le Bon Marché), where tourists may leave wallets, passports, and credit cards on cashier counters during transactions. Popular tourist sites are also popular with thieves, who favor congested areas to mask their activities. The crowded elevators at the Eiffel Tower, escalators at museums such as the Louvre, and the area surrounding Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre are all favored by pickpockets and snatch-and-grab thieves.

    There have been some instances of tourists being robbed and assaulted near less utilized metro stations. The area around the Moulin Rouge, known as Pigalle, requires extra security precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Pigalle is an adult entertainment area known for prostitution, sex shows, and illegal drugs. Unsuspecting tourists have run up exorbitant bar bills and been forced to pay before being permitted to leave. Other areas in Paris where extra security precautions are warranted after dark are Les Halles and the Bois de Boulogne."



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    In general, Paris taxis are safe and professionally operated, but there has been an increase in reported harassment and assaults on women by taxi drivers.

    I'm expecting the Women Taxi Driver Union of Paris to show up on our consulate's doorstep any day now with a letter complaining that they don't harass women.



    "I don't think anybody can say which neighborhood or which neighborhoods aren't dangerous"

    "Take on the French Government... they'll don't just have to accept things"

    "We're targeted"

    "Obama, was driving down the street"

    "...And we re-iterate how can you help us? And he wouldn't take on that responsibility..."

    What do I get from hearing those lines? They are about to graduate from high school with a mindset that everything's fine and the French (or minimally anything else except the neighborhoods) are the problem. In a mentality that are specifically and unfairly targeted and the lesson is gathering the courage to take them on. And the last quote hints of an expectation that it is the French's job to somehow fix that.

    There's a problem. And it's not the French or the outside American public. Save the offense for when there's an actual disproportional targeting. And if one is going to take the lesson of "don't just have to accept things", how about finding a way to reject of the deaths that just occurred this past month than rejecting the French? Reject that someone decided to kill a popular barber. Reject that that a kid recent pulled off great irony by supporting his superintendent being being a good kid and might not be so much after all. If people stop killing each other, then the French and anyone one else have no reason to warn. And it's not the French's responsibility nor to take such responsibility to fix that.

    Previously, I wrote there's could be a rebuttal in discussion that Boston's dangerous areas is only dangers relative to rest of Boston. But on an overall measure, it doesn't deserve to be singled in the same breath as other areas warned by the French. I wrote that in terms of technical argument because generally even Boston's most dangerous neighborhoods are a joke to many other areas in the country. There an argument can be made that the chances are too low to worry even at the relatively higher levels. But it this does not mean those quotes I heard. So I write this.


    One other thing, why are you spelling out how the French pronounce? If I am interpreting correctly, you are mocking the French and mocking because of their decision to warn their citizens. If so, I already revealed my stance. But I want to add mocking the French accent adds nothing just irritation to some readers.


    Tourists anywhere are more

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    Tourists anywhere are more likely to be singled out as a crime victim because they don't know their way around, don't know anyone in the neighborhood, have limited or no knowledge of the local language and are apt to be carrying expensive items and cash. I'm sure that there are plenty of interesting things going on in Dorchester but outsiders need to be warned to be extra careful.


    Re: It's a waste of energy...

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    This type of thinking is typical of teen thinking. They're not adults. They don't have any responsibilities other than go to school, do homework and whatever sports or after-school job. I'm disappointed in the adults who have wasted their time. A visit from the Consul General of another country is a learning opportunity, not an occasion to harangue him as racist. I'm sure they advise French tourists not to hang out after dark in Juneau, Alaska as well.

    I say this as someone who grew up in Mission Hill at the height of busing and lived there for most of my adult life. But, I've also lived in Jamaica Plain, Brookline and Andover. Needless to say, I slept better the further I moved away from the city. I currently live in a suburb that is in transition. A lot of folks are coming from Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury, looking for better days. But, people never seem to understand it's not geography that makes life bad, It's the people. Seeing more trees on your street doesn't mean you're in Paradise unless you're willing to leave nonsense behind with your old neighborhood.

    Again, the adults have let these kids down again and allowed them to believe in a fantasy world in which a foreign tourist should throw caution to the wind and risk his or her life and that of his or her family to spare their feelings. I offer the students another proposition: Continue to be the good citizen, stay in school and treat your neighbors with respect. Don't wait for change. Be the change. I've been where these kids are. I know how much it hurts. But, I knew no one would do it for me or spare my feelings. You are not criminals. Don't feel slighted by the Consul General. It's an opportunity, a challenge to be better.


    French Consul

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    Let's talk about Paris.
    Places to avoid while in Paris
    1st Arrondissement Around Châtelet les Halles at night
    12th Arrondissement
    10th Arrondissement, The area of Gare du Nord / Gare de l'Est
    18th arrondissement et Porte de Clignancourt. Where knifes are the weapon of choice and there was an attempted sexual on my 73 year old Grandmother one morning at 11 AM
    19th arrondissement at night
    Pickpockets at Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and along Siene River.(
    Tablemtn the most dangerous suburbs in France

    Has this pompous butt been to all 18 villages if Dorchester?


    More likely to die from carcinogens in France

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    France is a cesspool of carcinogens - everyone smokes, including kids, and its widely accepted. The second and third hand smoke in France - especially cities outside of Paris where housing is cheap - are a greater danger people than walking through a Boston neighborhood.


    Ya because

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    Smoke kills faster than a single bullet.