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Petty crime plaques Naha’s new Omoromachi

Date Posted: 2002-10-26

Naha’s new center Omoromachi at the site of the former U.S. Military Makiminato housing area is booming with construction going up everywhere. The area has the largest shopping Mall in Okinawa called Naha Main Place. It also has new facilities either under construction or already completed for several public offices including the Public Employment Office, Immigration Bureau, Naha City Office and District Court House. Private homes, apartment buildings and high-rise condos are also being built at break-neck speed.

However, the local resident association says that something else and not so desirable is booming too; petty crime. According to Omoromachi Community Association Chairman Kenji Murata residents in the area have reported many thefts, lawless disposal of trash, suspicious people walking on dark streets and traffic accidents. “As the area is still largely under construction, there are few traffic lights and signs, the streets are dark and lots of all kinds of people come from outside the area,” Murata says. He says that in August 33 cases of theft in the area were reported to the police; in September there were 29 cases. The association is recommending that residents install protective bars outside their windows to make them more difficult for thieves to open.

Kokusai High School has even gone so far as to distribute beepers to its students that they can alert police in case something happens. San-A and other large supermarkets and shopping centers in the area complain that people have left old TVs, washing machines and refrigerators on their parking lots. “We don’t have guards in the parking areas, only in front of the shops. We obviously need to fence off our parking areas and allow access to them only through gates,” a spokesman for Rakuichi Mall said.

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