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Monday, February 27, 2006

Japanese parents mobilize against crime


There have been a number of horrifying crimes against children over the past few years in Japan, the latest taking place in Nara only a week ago when a mother killed two of her own children's classmates.

Here is an article (translated by JapanVistor) from today's Yomiuri Online about the nationwide response to this worrying trend.

"Protecting children from crime: the rapid increase of crime prevention volunteers.

Local anti-crime activities are presently being carried out by 19, 515 ‘Crime Prevention Volunteer Groups’ throughout Japan, the Police Department announced today as the result of a survey – an increase of 2.4 times last year’s number.

Since the survey began two years ago, the number has increased 6.4 times, due in part to the succession of brutal crimes targeting children. There is also a trend towards an increase in the number of days the groups are active, and independent crime prevention initiatives by citizens are spreading rapidly.

There were 3,056 such groups in 2003, 8,079 in 2004 – a rate of increase that more than doubles every year. 10,366 of the groups, or 53% of them, are made up of local neighborhood groups and local neighborhood councils.

2,762, or 14%, of the groups are made up of children’s parents and guardians: an increase of 4.2 times over last year’s figure of 651. It is apparent that parents and guardians are very actively taking part in these activities in response to the danger they feel their children are in.

The total number of persons taking part in these activities now numbers 1,194,011, a 2.3 times increase over last year.

The average number of days each group was active two years ago was “one day a month”: the figure given by 34% of the groups, whereas 6% replied ‘every day’. However, last year, groups that answered ‘3 or 4 days a month’ and ’20 to 29 days month’ made up the largest proportion with 20% each, with those replying‘every day’at 9%。

81% of the groups carry out their crime prevention patrolling on foot, and 66% carry out their activities for the protection and guidance of children on streets children commute to school on."


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