An officer from the local police station routinely checks in on homes dotting Kazumoto Machida’s sleepy village. Most of the residents in the rural community on the western edge of Saitama Prefecture are older, including Machida’s octogenarian parents whom the bachelor lives with.

But since a spate of high-profile robberies made national headlines last year, the policeman has been accompanied by a welfare commissioner and the head of the neighborhood association during his patrols.