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The UK's premier new media criminologist - on Twitter @criminology4u, facebook and blogging on Criminology in Public and Sports Criminology.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why Paris lock ban should interest criminologists including green ones.

The only time the bridges of Paris feature in Criminology is usually in the quote from Anatole France 

La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
which reminds us that structural inequalities control our lives as much as, if not more than, the law; and that all people might commit crimes but not all might need to.

Its not what's going on under the bridges of Paris but on the balustrades and railings of the bridges.  I first spotted these on the Hohenzoller Bridge in Cologne which their tourist industry seems to support - but it is a very much bigger bridge.

I recently visited Paris (see my pictures below) and many bridges and even places near bridges had locks attached. But now the authorities are showing a renewed determination to remove them. (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/30/travel/paris-love-locks-bridges-feat/

The article linked above mentions safety issues - a part of the Pont des Arts bridge collapsed in June last year and tourist issues.  The estimated 700,000 locks weigh the same as 20 elephants

Criminologists of the mundane might note:
'Graffiti, pickpockets and vendors selling cheap padlocks also became a problem'
And I was very much taken with the 'drug dealer' like way in which I was offered locks by the same, or similar, young men who during showers offered to sell one umbrellas and water during sunny periods.  

Other takes/critiques are possible. Grumpy me thinks, 'Stupid sentimentalism'. Feminist me thinks 'stupid romantic ideologies but at least not specifically heteronormative'.  Socialist me thinks about the consumption of unnecessary items. Which reminds green me that this means the production and consumption of crime prevention devices for non-crime prevention.

Whilst cultural criminology might see the locks as some form of resistance  - to the City authorities if not to commerce - akin to graffiti but green criminology might see a form of littering or a failure to recycle. A green crime whereby if you lock it you've lost it!

Locks by SeineBoarding up Pont des Artsfrench workers repair lock damaged bridge 2french workers repair lock damaged bridge 1

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