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Marseille residents petition for Batman to save them from crime

By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com   |   Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM   |   Comments

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Residents in Marseille, France have officially asked for a Batman to come help them with skyrocketing crime.

The mock petition, titled "Will it take Batman to save Marseille?" has thousands of signatures and a Facebook page for the group has more than 4,000 fans.

Europe's current "Capital of Culture" is also considered "Europe's most dangerous place to be young."

More than a quarter of the 800,000 population is living below the poverty line, and there have been 13 gang-related killings so far this year. In 2012, authorities intercepted around 300 Kalashnikovs.

The French city's quest for Batman comes following the death of pensioner Jacques Blondel, 61, who was shot dead trying to stop a robbery by first knocking the thieves over with his car then confronting them with a baseball bat.

The petition says increased police presence in the city hasn't been effective at curbing crime rates, and accuses politicians of empty rhetoric and sound bites.

"A Batman for Marseille aims to encourage Marseille residents to take their own security and not simply outbid opportunistic communication and political meningitis," the petition says.

The petition suggests community groups unite and work toward a "common vision" for the city rather than relying on increased police and military deployment.

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