Just because the French government stopped divulging the number of cars set on fire during New Year's Eve doesn't mean French youth have stopped enjoying the pastime. In 2009, the year before Nicolas Sarkozy took control of Elysées Palace, there were 1,147 cars burned on NYE. This year, the new government of François Hollande – a proponent of transparency in such matters – reports that there were 1,193 cars flambéed a few nights ago.

Some watchers have criticized the French government for going public with the numbers again, saying it only encourages gangs to compete with one another. It is intriguing that there was a four-fold increase after 2008: In 2007 there were 397 cars burned, in 2008 just 372 were torched. However, with suggested reasons for the pyromania including protest, removing the evidence of crimes and false insurance claims (and with the numbers not having changed much from 2009 during three years of silence), "to tell or not to tell" doesn't really appear to have had that much impact on the situation. And that means the Gauls should probably expect more of the same next year, oui?

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