Since the beginning of 2019, the city of Lourdes has seen the phenomenon of pickpocketing exploded: they increased from 117 in the time period January to September 2018 to 274 in 2019. On October 7, 2019, four young women from Bosnia were punished with three months’ imprisonment for collective theft.
Although the authorities have not given any precise explanation for this increase, they have pointed out the lack of vigilance of some pilgrims. “We have seasonal delinquency because Lourdes is a tourist city, known worldwide,” said Philippe Subercaze, security deputy to the Mayor of Lourdes. “Many people think when they arrive in Lourdes nothing can happen and they leave their handbags open wider than they would in Paris.”
Sanctuary authorities report that a new video-protection system has been in place since 2018 to apprehend more thieves. “We take this problem very seriously and cooperate fully with the police. It is a nuisance that we do not want pilgrims to have to experience,” the officials of the Marian shrine reported to the press.