Recorded crimes in 2012 fall 6.7%

Kyodo

The number of recorded crimes last year dropped 6.7 percent from 2011 to about 1.382 million, falling below the 1.4 million mark for the first time in 32 years, data from the National Police Agency indicated Thursday.

The number of penal code violations in 2012 was less than half of the record 2.85 million logged in 2002 and marked the 10th consecutive annual decline, according to the preliminary data.

The number of cases of murder and attempted murder fell to 1,030 from 1,051 year on year, although other violent crimes, including assault, rose 8.9 percent from 2011 to 67,183. Offenses such as molestation and public indecency meanwhile spiked 9.4 percent to 11,927.

The police made arrests or took other law-enforcement action in 437,674 cases, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier.

The fall in the overall number of crimes over the past decade was largely attributed by the NPA to a sharp decline in thefts. An agency official said the decline also reflects “rising awareness of crime prevention among the public and reinforcement of police patrols on the street.”

Compared with 2002, the number of vehicular break-ins fell by around 75 percent to 102,799, while attempts to steal cash from vending machines plunged by around 90 percent to 18,822. The NPA official said increased use of security cameras and improvements in car and vending machine security systems had deterred crimes.