Police want more public participation in crime prevention, claiming it is impossible for them alone to ensure public safety, according to a 2004 white paper released Friday.

The National Police Agency report states that surveys show dissatisfaction with current conditions among both police and the public.

The agency said it is acting to bolster the functions of “koban” police boxes and to support crime-prevention activities among the public.

In a poll of more than 1,900 police officers who have 10 or more years of experience and who are currently assigned to police boxes, 94.9 percent said they believe local security cannot be ensured by police alone.

A majority said the public needs to take self-protection measures and organize crime-prevention activities, such as patrols by residents.

About a third of the officers said cooperation between police boxes and residents is inadequate. Of these, three-quarters said this was because they did not have enough time as they also have to deal with crimes and accidents, the report says.

In a separate survey on public crime-prevention groups, some respondents said many Japanese are unaware of the need to take measures to protect themselves against crime.

Meanwhile, a national survey of about 2,100 adults showed that while 64.5 percent said they want police boxes to be staffed more often, 62.3 percent said they want police to increase patrols.

Yet increasing patrols would also mean officers would be absent from police boxes more often.

The agency therefore plans to take measures to resolve the problem of empty police boxes in three years by hiring more officers, revising their deployment and stationing retired officers at koban to help the public.

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