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Teen drinking, smoking busts down this year

Date Posted: 2008-07-25

Okinawa Prefectural Police have apprehended 45.4% fewer minors on charges of illegal drinking during the first six months of 2008, compared with last year.

A total of 935 teen arrests were made January~ June, compared with 1,713 minors a year ago. Police say the number of minors picked up for smoking is down 7.4%, with 16,884 arrests made. That’s reduction of 1,357 cases.

More serious crimes committed by minors are down 22%, Prefectural Police say, noting 782 arrests have been made in the first half of 2008. The negative to that report, police note, is that crimes committed by junior high school students under age 15 account for 63.5% of all arrests, the worst percentage in the country.

“Criminal law cases involving young people have been increasing,” a police spokesman says. “Even under age 12, we’ve caught 60 children this year,” he says. Authorities are working to modify children’s relationships, seeking to have youngsters listen to what older siblings and friends tell them.

Police attribute “general and community and related groups for children working strongly” as the reason for reductions in the number of crimes committed by minors. They say 39.6% of all crimes on Okinawa are committed by teenagers. Thefts committed by teenagers account for 45.7% of the prefecture total.

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