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2013年8月 7日 (水)

警察白書 犯罪抑止は迅速な対応から

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 7, 2013
Police must respond promptly to prevent crimes
警察白書 犯罪抑止は迅速な対応から(8月6日付・読売社説)

An important duty of the police is to expose crimes. In the interest of maintaining public order, it also is essential for the police to do their utmost to prevent crimes from being committed.

Criminal offenses have been on the decline, with 1.38 million confirmed by police last year, less than half the number logged at their peak in 2002.

The decline has been chiefly due to a drop in the burglaries of empty houses and car break-ins, thanks to the spread of security cameras and alarm devices.

However, according to a Cabinet Office public opinion survey, 80 percent of respondents said, “The state of public security has deteriorated.”

In analyzing the perceptional gap between the actual decline in the number of crimes and public awareness of crimes, this year’s police white paper noted there had been marked increases in the number of crimes in which “children, women and the elderly” are victims. This kind of analysis is important.

There appears to be no end to child abuse. The police confirmed a record 472 cases of child abuse last year. They also reported about 44,000 cases of domestic violence, in which the victims were mostly women, and about 20,000 stalking cases. Both these figures are records.

Elderly people have been targeted in bank transfer scams and vicious business practices.

If the police act promptly, they probably could prevent the damage from such crimes from becoming serious. It is important for police to heighten their vigilance to prevent crimes.

Expand consultations

To improve such efforts, the white paper has proposed boosting the functions of consultation counters at police stations across the country. The aim would be to prevent crimes by utilizing such counters as a gauge to determine the state of local public safety.

For this idea to work, personnel capable of dealing with many kinds of inquiries and consultations need to be fostered. It also will be important for the police to work in close cooperation with related organizations, such as local boards of education, child consultation facilities and consumer centers.

In a case in which a stalker killed two women in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture, in 2011, the police failed to respond to repeated stalking complaints lodged earlier by the stalked victim and her relatives. The case ended up in the worst way possible.

The white paper emphasized, “Even if an action does not constitute a criminal offense or violate a law or ordinance, the police should provide guidance or issue warnings when deemed necessary.” This statement was stressed probably to remind police of the lesson that should be learned from such a blunder.

What is most important is for the police to sincerely listen to complaints made by those who believe their lives are in danger.

The police face a difficult task in improving consultation services, as there is a chronic manpower shortage. We hope they make an effort to offer consultation services efficiently, for example by publicizing a nationwide uniform telephone number for those services.

In regard to serious complaints lodged by possible victims, the Metropolitan Police Department, prefectural police headquarters and local police stations should share relevant information.

The police, which have been tainted by a spate of recent irregularities, must maintain public safety by responding promptly to complaints. Only by doing so will they be able to regain public trust.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 6, 2013)
(2013年8月6日01時28分  読売新聞)


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