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Teens commit one-third of Okinawa’s crimes

Date Posted: 2006-08-18

Theft and shoplifting are Okinawa’s most prevalent crimes, and teenagers are involved in 35% of them.

A new study released by the Okinawa Prefecture Police covering the first six months of 2006 show that 2,119 crimes were committed, with younger perpetrators showing up for the first time. Of 1,097 crimes committed by people under age 19, 763 were charges of stealing.

Police say approximately 70% of all crimes involve theft, with 361 cases of shoplifting. Shoplifting is common among youth, the police point out, as school youngsters and classmates steal from stores, snatch handbags from pedestrians, or misappropriate motor bikes for joyrides.

The rising teen crime rate has forced Prefecture Police to establish a special task force to keep an eye on groups and how often they steal. The police have a professional theft section which exposed a number of criminal teams over the past year. Officers say they will not be forgiving, even of small thefts or shoplifting from convenience stores.

At the same time, police are warning parents that “youth need a place to stay and play, and should not always be going out.” They’re telling adults “What about family? Home is the one place boys should be. Make them stay home.”

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