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1 Crime prevention activities in local communities
The "Action Program to Create a Crime-Resistant Society" places priority on support for crime prevention activities in local communities, setting top priority issues such as "prevention of familiar offenses that may threaten peaceful life" and "prevention of juvenile offenses that should be coped with by the whole society." As concrete measures, the Action Program specifies "support for local residents and volunteer groups coping with voluntary crime prevention activities" and "promotion of education in local communities and development of comfortable places for juveniles," etc.
Voluntary crime prevention activities by local residents have been actively pursued recently. As of December 31, 2005, the number of crime prevention volunteer groups that the National Police Agency grasped was 19,515, participated in by 1,194,011 members. Comparing the figures to those as of the same day in 2004, there were significant increases both in the number of volunteer groups by nearly 2.4 times and the number of members by nearly 2.3 times.
Groups doing volunteer activities "three to four days a month" on average were the largest in number at 3,951, but as many as 3,880 groups did work "20 to 29 days a month." There were 1,711 groups working every day and such groups increased by nearly 3.6 times from the same day of 2004 (Source: Community Safety Bureau, National Police Agency).
Looking at the residents' attitude toward the participation in local crime prevention activities in the "Special Public Opinion Poll on Children's Security" conducted by the Cabinet Office between June and July 2006, 73.4% responded that they "want to" participate in local crime prevention activities, while 23.7% responded that they "do not want to." When asking reasons to persons who responded that they "do not want to," the largest portion of them (51.0%) responded that "they are too busy to participate in such activities."
Major activities of these volunteer groups were anticrime patrols on foot (nearly 81%) and protection and guiding of children on school routes (nearly 66%) (Source: Community Safety Bureau, National Police Agency).
As of December 31, 2005, there were 1,452 groups that were implementing anticrime patrols by vehicle with blue flashers, increasing significantly from the same day of 2004 (102 groups) (Source: Community Safety Bureau, National Police Agency).
Furthermore, activities for fostering sound juveniles that will lead to the prevention of juvenile delinquency have been actively pursued, such as the "campaign for greeting and talking with each other," and "campaign for developing comfortable places for juveniles."
The number of reported cases for non-traffic penal code offenses started to decrease in accordance with the increasing momentum to these local crime prevention activities. Breaking down the decrease in the number of reported cases, decreases have been significant for theft such as theft from vehicles and bicycle theft which belong to types of offenses committed on streets (see Chapter 2, Section 1, 2 of this Part). It is pointed out that local crime prevention activities such as anticrime patrols are effective for such offenses. The increasing momentum for crime prevention activities in local communities seems to have thus contributed to the decrease in the number of reported cases for non-traffic penal code offenses. Related agencies need to strengthen support for such local crime prevention volunteer activities and further activate their efforts for restoring public safety in cooperation with local communities.