The number of crimes recorded in Japan in the first six months of 2023 increased by more than 20% compared to the same period of the previous year, due in part to an increase in street crime and break-ins amid an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, police data showed Wednesday.

A total of 333,003 cases were reported in the first half of the year, up by 21.1% from the previous year, rising for the first time in 21 years on a January-June basis, according to the National Police Agency.

The data came as Japan recorded a rise in crimes in 2022 for the first time in 20 years.

The numbers include burglaries linked to yami baito, or "dark part-time work," where individuals are often recruited via social media to commit crimes for money.

The phrase yami baito gained traction when Japanese men, arrested for running scams from the Philippines, were suspected of recruiting individuals for this kind of work to carry out a series of robberies across Japan.

Street crimes, which include bicycle theft, grew by 29.7% compared to the same period the previous year, rising to 110,744 cases, according to the agency.

Break-ins increased to 27,741 cases, up 28.0%.

Police said the rise in sensational crimes, as well as those committed in familiar locations, was likely to create a sense of a decline in public safety.

"It will be a turning point (in regards to safety) if the number of reported crimes continues to increase as people start to return to normalcy," a spokesperson from the agency said.

By category, robberies jumped by 23.8% from the previous year to 228,889 cases, accounting for three-quarters of the overall increase.

Heinous crimes, including murder, were up 16.5% to 5,137 cases.