New home security products are flying off the shelves and turning some households into virtual fortresses, but experts say many people have a false sense of security.
While burglaries decreased by about 10 percent this year from a year ago, robberies and other violent crimes increased 1 percent, according to the National Police Agency.
Nearly 50 percent of burglaries involved breaking glass windows or doors. The agency has warned that people are not necessarily safe just because their main entrance is secure.
Many people do not lock their doors because they trust their neighbors. But houses with unlocked doors accounted for 30 percent of all burglaries.
“The Japanese are about 20 years behind Americans when it comes to crime-prevention consciousness,” one expert said.
Takeshi Yoshida, an architect studying how to crime-proof homes at Sekisui House Ltd., said it is important to take measures to avoid becoming a target, to make homes difficult to break into and to curb the extent of damage.
Because more than half of burglars case their targets, making your home look “formidable” is important, he said.
Seventy percent of burglars gave up their attempts when it took more than five minutes to break in. Measures like multilayered glass and alarms seem to be effective deterrents, he said.
Many advances are being made in the area of home security.
Toyota Home Co. has developed an electronic lock with a keyhole that cannot be seen, by employing technology used for high-end cars.
One key manufacturer is seeking to replace the need for a key with fingerprint-recognitions locks.
Reinforced glass is also effective. Asahi Glass Co.’s Secure costs about 50,000 yen per 1 sq. meter.