National / Crime & Legal

Japanese calling the police more than ever to address nonurgent matters

Kyodo

Police dealt with a record-high number of consultations last year over problems that did not call for an urgent response, such as noisy neighbors and graffiti, a report showed Monday.

The record 2.08 million consultations, up about 50 percent from 2008, may reflect a loss of community networks that have traditionally dealt with local problems, according to a National Police Agency official.

Separately, the police also received about 9 million emergency calls last year of which about 20 percent were about nonurgent matters. They are asking people to avoid using emergency numbers and use a special line for consultations instead.

Of the consultations, 240,956, or 11.6 percent, were for noise or other problems related to neighbors, households and workplaces, up 70 percent from 2008.

This was followed by consultations for graffiti and other disturbances to the public peace, which more than doubled to 128,258 cases, accounting for 6.2 percent, it said.

Consultations about issues that might evolve into criminal cases also rose.

A total of 261,936 cases, or 12.6 percent, involved potential criminal cases, including claims about suspicious calls that could be linked to fraud, while 255,520, or 12.3 percent, were from people wanting to stop spam calls and other public nuisances.

Consultations for domestic violence grew about 2.8 times to 71,579 cases, or 3.4 percent, while consultations on possible cybercrimes such as suspicious email stood at 129,393, or 6.2 percent.