When I witness a theft, for example, a pickpocket in a busy RER, am I bound by law to report the theft? Am I required/protected by law to defend the victim/intervene in the act?

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    I've witnessed an agression in France and reported it to the police. I even had the name of the suspect (it was a home disturbance). They didn't even write up a complaint. – Gabriel Diego Jul 26 '18 at 6:42

Under Article 223-6 of the Criminal Code

Anyone who, being able to prevent by immediate action a felony or a misdemeanour against the bodily integrity of a person, without risk to himself or to third parties, wilfully abstains from doing so, is punished by five years' imprisonment and a fine of €75,000. The same penalties apply to anyone who wilfully fails to offer assistance to a person in danger which he could himself provide without risk to himself or to third parties, or by initiating rescue operations.

Pocket-picking is a special case of theft that violates "bodily integrity"; so this article does seem to create a conditional legal duty to intervene. There does not appear to be a specific law creating a duty to report crimes to the police, but that might be implied by the duty to initiate rescue operations.

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    It is hard for me to imagine a situation in which someone could intervene in a street theft "without risk to himself or to third parties." The nature of the potential danger is essentially unknowable since the thief could be heavily armed or accompanied by dangerous accomplices. – phoog Jul 25 '18 at 16:41
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    This is an article pertaining to a duty to help or rescue in a manner that prevents a crime, not a duty to report a crime to authorities once it has occurred. I share the skepticism of @phoog that personally intervening in a pickpocket incident could be done "without risk to himself or third parties" absent some pretty extraordinary circumstances (e.g. an unaccompanied toddler is the thief). I also doubt that a real artful pickpocket incident is something against someone's bodily integrity. – ohwilleke Jul 27 '18 at 1:34

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