• Kyodo News


The Metropolitan Police Department has decided to conduct a survey on about 2,000 shoplifting suspects concerning their motives and whether they premeditated the crime as the number of shoplifting cases has been on the rise, according to Tokyo police officials.

Finding out more about the living conditions and the mental state of such suspects could help prevent further escalation of shoplifting crimes, the officials said.

The police will collect information based on questioning for about two months from later this month, covering 30 survey items including the suspect’s occupational status and whether they are on welfare.

The survey items also include why the suspects chose a particular shop and if there was something that could have prevented them from carrying out the crime.

The police will compile the data by dividing up the results into first-time offenders and repeat offenders.

“Shoplifting tends to become a gateway to other crimes,” a senior official in the department said. “We will not change the way we conduct interrogations. But the compiled data could help us adopt effective countermeasures.”

Items worth over 300 billion yen are shoplifted each year in Japan where the crime is usually seen as a minor offense.

In 2008, the number of shoplifting cases in Japan totaled 145,429, up from the previous year for the first time since 2004, according to the National Police Agency.

Of the total, the Tokyo police acknowledged 17,816 cases last year, more than double the figure 10 years ago.

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