Crimes by and against the elderly are growing nationwide at a time when the crime rate overall is dropping, the National Police Agency said in its annual white paper released Friday.
In its 2013 report, the NPA said the number of criminal cases in which people 65 or older were targeted had more than doubled over the past 20 years or so to about 131,000 last year, accounting for 9.5 percent of all crime.
The elderly are particularly being targeted for fraud, such as money transfer and securities trading scams, the report said. Some 80 percent of the victims in such scams are people 60 years or older, it said.
The white paper noted various steps the police are taking to grasp the methods involved, such as abusing services that offer the use of business addresses.
The number of the elderly implicated in crimes last year came to 48,500, accounting for 16.9 percent of the total. Many of the cases involved shoplifting and theft.
The white paper blamed the trend on social alienation of the elderly and moral decline. As a positive sign, it cited a community-based effort in western Japan to increase communication among residents as an example of one way to reduce crime in an aging society.
Overall, the number of cases investigated nationwide in 2012 dropped 6.7 percent from the previous year to 1.38 million, the agency said.