OSAKA — The city of Osaka has announced a comprehensive plan to make local streets, parks and schools safer, combating a rise in petty crime that has put Osaka atop the national list for reported incidents.

The plan, released late last month, calls for the number of streetlights along sidewalks and narrow side streets to be increased, as well video monitors to be installed in underground parking lots and subway stations.

It recommends that the number of security personnel around subway stations be increased, and that emergency buzzers in public lavatories and public parks be installed.

Public schools are a special focus of the report, which offers a five-point plan for improving school safety.

This includes a recommendation that school authorities create new rules that emphasize public safety, that schools have only one gate to enter and exit from, that the local community become involved with school safety issues, that more safety drills be conducted and that streets around schools be monitored.

“The key to improving public safety in Osaka is to make all citizens aware that they have to take responsibility,” Osaka Mayor Takafumi Isomura said upon the report’s release.

In 2001, there were 136,000 violations of the criminal code, a rate that surpasses Tokyo, making Osaka the worst city for reported crimes in Japan. Most of these crimes were in the categories of purse-snatchings, car thefts, and breaking and entering.

To deal with the crime problem, the city established a committee of local lawyers, social workers, labor leaders and university professors last spring to solicit advice from residents on how to deal with public safety issues.

City officials had become increasingly concerned with Osaka’s reputation nationwide at a time when they were drawing up plans to attract more tourists and international visitors, while local businesses were worried about the impact of petty crime on the local economy.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.