A police crackdown that aims to clear a poor suburb of petty crime and street vendors before the Paris 2024 Olympics is putting pressure on an overcrowded prison operating at almost double its capacity.

Villepinte is a gray, concrete detention center in the suburb of Seine-Saint Denis. It lies 2.5 kilometers from the Paris Arena Nord, set to host boxing and fencing competitions during the Games beginning on July 26. It is among the most crowded prisons in France. Opened in 1991, Villepinte takes prisoners from the busy Bobigny courthouse nearby for pre-trial detention and short sentences.

"The penitentiary authority needs to prepare for the worst,” Eric Mathais, chief prosecutor at Bobigny, said in an interview.