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Senior citizens getting more adept at stealing

Date Posted: 2009-10-08

The number of senior citizens arrested and prosecuted for stealing is up more than 10% over a year ago.

Okinawa Prefecture Police say theft by senior citizens ages 65 and older is up by 10.1% over 2008, with 164 prosecuted between January and August. That compares with a total of 228 seniors prosecuted for all of 2008. The most frequent crime: shoplifting. Police say 81.7% of the thefts are shoplifting, with 134 already prosecuted for the crime this year.

Why do they shoplift? Police asked those arrested, with 70.9% saying “I don’t have a particular reason, but just feel that I want them when I see the goods.” Another 17.2% said “because I don’t have money to buy” the items.

“We can’t say exactly what the relationship with the social world background and rising numbers of senior citizens arrested for theft is,” a Prefecture Police official says, “but it might be because senior citizens are living longer and the seniors population is increasing.” He notes, though, that individual backgrounds are so different “we can’t make sweeping statements.”

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