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Civic patrols join cops to protect local communities

Date Posted: 2005-07-22

Spurred by a molestation incident involving an American, residents of two central Okinawa communities have formed a community patrol unit.

Chatan Town and Okinawa City, concerned about protecting its children and insuring overall crime is not to flourish in their communities, began the civic patrols last Friday. Twelve mini-vans sporting bright blue revolving lights on the roofs are criss crossing the communities, keeping watch over the neighborhoods.

“There was a crime a few weeks ago in Okinawa City, an obscene scandal by an American military guy,” said Chatan mayor Choichi Hentona. “We have to protect the children by ourselves, and our patrols give comfort for residents. It will decrease the crime rates too.”

Thirty-three citizens selected by the two city offices will man the patrol vehicles. Officials say the units will be on the streets in the two communities each night, augmenting the overtaxed local police departments. They’ll have communication links to police.

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