Japan sees surge of 17% in crime rates highlighting the urgent need for measures to ensure public safety

Crime rates in Japan surged by 17% in 2023, with significant increases in serious crimes, cybercrimes, and cases of abuse, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced measures to ensure public safety.

The National Police Agency (NPA) in Japan revealed on Thursday that the number of criminal offenses recognized by police surged by 17% in 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 703,351 cases. This significant rise comes after a similar increase in 2022, marking the first consecutive rise in crime rates in two decades, primarily attributed to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite the consecutive uptick in crime rates, an official from the NPA cautioned against prematurely concluding that the overall security situation in the country has deteriorated. However, the data paints a concerning picture, with a notable increase in serious crimes, including murder and sexual assault cases, which surged by 29.8% to 12,372 incidents. Additionally, the number of reported robberies grew by 18.6%, reaching 1,361 cases.

Particularly alarming is the sharp rise in cases of forcible intercourse, which increased by 63.8% to 2,711 incidents following a revision of the Penal Code in July. Similarly, the number of abduction and human trafficking cases saw a significant increase of 34.9%, totaling 526 cases, with many of these crimes facilitated through communication apps.

In the realm of cybercrimes, the amount of money stolen through internet banking services skyrocketed by about 5.6-fold to a record high of ¥8.6 billion. This surge in financial cybercrime was accompanied by a 4.8-fold increase in the number of detected cases, which reached a record high of 5,528 incidents.

Moreover, there has been a disturbing rise in cases of alleged abuse against vulnerable individuals, including children and victims of domestic violence. The number of people referred to child consultation centers by police over suspected abuse surged by 6.1% to a record high of 122,806 cases. Similarly, consultations on domestic violence involving spouses and partners grew by 4.9% to 88,619 cases, also reaching a record high.

These concerning trends highlight the pressing need for enhanced measures to address and combat various forms of criminal activities across Japan. As law enforcement agencies grapple with the complexities of emerging crime patterns, efforts to ensure the safety and protection of all citizens remain paramount in safeguarding communities against the evolving threats posed by criminal elements.