France was slow to react to the spreading violence set off by the accidental deaths of two youths on Oct. 27, in part because the initial nights of unrest did not seem particularly unusual in a country where an average of more than 80 cars were set on fire every day this year even before the violence.
Wait, 80 cars torched is just a normal day? Wow. But how does that compare to the U.S.? This report says that there were 18,070 motor vehicle arsons reported in the U.S. in 2004. That would be just under 50 per day. And the U.S. has a much larger population. So 80 per day in France does seem high.