#shoplifting

Pensioners in Japan hit 40% of all shoplifting

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The Japanese National Police Agency (JNPA) has recorded that almost 40% of all shoplifting is being committed by pensioners. CM wrote a full report on pensioner crime and the percentage continues to climb. In February 2018, an unemployed Oita Pref. woman in her 70s was arrested for shoplifting. She stole one 163 yen (US$1.40) baked potato. While she had sufficient cash to pay she said, “It was a waste of money to buy it.” Shoplifting in Oita among the elderly is now 47.5% (26.9% in 2008) of the total, well above the 39.5% nationwide average (26.6% in 2008).

In addition, the proportion of elderly people who repeat offenses increased in 2017 26.2%, up from 13.9% in 2008. 70% of offenders earn less than JPY 2mn per annum (US$18,000).

Supermarkets and drug stores account for 70% of the places crime is committed. 50% use the excuse that they have the money but don’t believe it is worth paying for. 10.5% believe that shoplifting is not a serious crime. 14.5% wanted to save some money for their pension and 11% insist they do not have enough money.

Japanese elderly crime continues to soar

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Almost 3 years ago, CM wrote a piece on elderly crime in Japan. It seems the stats are getting worse. The Japanese National Police Agency has reported in its latest report on crime that the elderly (65yo+) are now responsible for almost 40% of all shoplifting in 2016. This is almost double the rate of a decade ago. While much of it is petty crime, there seems a deliberate attempt to ‘break into prison’ as a way to survive. A roof over their head, three square meals a day, no utility bills and unlimited free health care. The only real negative being the harsh prison rules about when one can talk to fellow inmates. To the state, one inmate costs ¥3.8mn to incarcerate and we estimate around ¥300,000 in court and administration fees per incarceration.

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Murder committed by the elderly is also crept up over the last decade to 18.9% of all murders. In absolute terms murders have fallen but for the elderly have remained relatively consistent. Burglary  rates have doubled.

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Rape statistics also point to a rapid rise in elderly perpetrators.

Rape in Japan

Assault committed by the elderly has also soared to over 4,000 cases with total rates also climbing to new records.

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Intimidation has more than doubled among the elderly too.

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Total theft (involving all types) saw elderly percentages jump from 17.5% to 29.4% of the total 115,462 committed that year.

Theft in Japan

Since 2001, the elderly’s representative percentage of the prison population has doubled to be the highest demographic. The Ministry of Justice has expanded prison capacity by 50% over the last decade. One wonders if this has been in preparation for soaring crime rates.

While absolute crime rates are relatively low on an international level, the growing levels confirm a worrying trend.