NEW YORK—Parisian mayoral candidates’ comments that stereotyped the Bronx as a high-crime area have riled up Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“The tired, ancient stereotypes about the Bronx continue to unfairly cloud the minds of people as far away as Paris, France. We in the Bronx have had enough,” Diaz Jr. said in a statement issued Monday.
Diaz was referring to several comments made by French politicians, including the current mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, comparing Paris’s rising crime rates to the Bronx.
Speaking earlier this month Mayor Delanoë said, “There are problems in Paris, but this isn’t the Bronx,” a report published in The Local said.
In response to the mayor’s comment, former national police chief and candidate for mayor Frédéric Péchenard spoke with the Journal du Dimanche a few days later. “The mayor says that ‘Paris is not the Bronx.’ Nonetheless, in certain parts it is seriously beginning to resemble it.”
Péchenard cited steady increases in theft throughout the French capital, including in violence motivated by financial gain, a rise in attacks on property, a 31 percent increase in break-ins, and a 44 percent increase in burglaries on homes. “It’s worrying,” Péchenard said.
According to a report published in the English-language Quartz Daily, mayoral candidates Rachida Dati and Anne Hidalgo, both made similar comments, that Paris is not the Bronx. Dati also said on French television “The Bronx is lawless.”
Diaz said the Parisian mayoral candidates’ perceptions of the Bronx are misinformed.
“Crime has steadily dropped in the Bronx. Last year, the Bronx had the lowest rate of crime it has seen since the early 1960s, and this year our borough is on pace to be even safer,” he said. “Yet here we are, once again, forced to defend our hometown from the slanders and libels of politicians thousands of miles away, in Paris no less, who are using the Bronx to score cheap political points.”