Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the theft of my knick­ers, but do I say?

The East African - - OPINION -

Ja­pan has run out of crim­i­nals and the po­lice are look­ing for some­thing to do! The po­lice are grow­ing in num­bers: Beat cops, known col­lo­qui­ally as omawari-san (Mr Walk-around), are a fix­ture in most neigh­bour­hoods. Ja­pan has over 259,000 uni­formed of­fi­cers—15,000 more than a decade ago, when crime rates were far higher. This means plenty of at­ten­tion for crimes that would be con­sid­ered too petty to in­ves­ti­gate else­where, such as the theft of a bi­cy­cle or the pos­ses­sion of a tiny amount of drugs. One woman de­scribes how five of­fi­cers crowded into her cramped apart­ment after she re­ported her knick­ers be­ing swiped from a clothes­line.

Re­cently, the po­lice in Kagoshima city staged a day and night stake­out lasted by leav­ing an un­locked car that con­tained a case of malt beer out­side a su­per­mar­ket. It took al­most a week be­fore a pass­ing mid­dle-aged man de­cided to help him­self. Five po­lice­men in­stantly pounced, nab­bing one of the city’s few re­main­ing law­break­ers! Crime rates in Ja­pan have been fall­ing for 13 years, and with a mur­der rate of 0.3 per 100,000 peo­ple is among the low­est in the world.

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