Sorts of mediators, named “night correspondents”, have been hired by French municipalities in the aim of interacting with the inhabitants and reducing violence in the neighborhoods using dialogue and daily help (in repairing things in particular). Night correspondents seem to be especially appropriate to reduce incivility, i.e. daily non respectful behaviors, which are growing a lot these years in tough neighborhoods. As the case of the city of Cergy ( a city 30 kilometers from Paris) will demonstrate, night correspondents respond to the expectations of the inhabitants (which are to be taken care of, as well as the buildings in which they live) and those of the youth considered to be troublemakers (which are to be respected and reassured). These results emerged from two surveys conducted in Cergy by students of two seminars run by the author at ESSEC business school. Although the recommendation of hiring night correspondents has not been followed yet, several decisions have been taken by the social lessors and other public actors in the neighborhoods aimed at reducing violence using dialogue through mediation processes. And these constitute another significant result of the seminars. First, as we will see, one of the main problems in fighting against violence in neighborhoods in France stems from the difficulties public actors have in working together. And, in this case 18 social lessors, several Town Hall services, representatives of the police and justice authorities worked together. Second, through their decisions, they have promoted mediation, which implies a new common vision of the problematic situation.
DE CARLO, L. (2002). Reducing Violence in Cergy or Implementing Mediation Processes in Neighborhoods Near Paris. ESSEC Business School.