AOH :: ISN-3036.HTM

Burglaries down, but lock-picking cases up 40%

Burglaries down, but lock-picking cases up 40%
Burglaries down, but lock-picking cases up 40% 

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sept. 22, 2006

The number of burglaries is down slightly from last year, but
break-ins in which special tools were used to unlock doors increased
by 40.5 percent in the January-August period compared with the same
period last year in Tokyo, according to a report by the Metropolitan
Police Department.

Sharp rises in the number of cases in which locks were picked or doors
opened using the so-called thumbturn opening method, have been
reported in areas where streets are narrow and patrolling is
difficult, especially in such wards as Suginami, Nakano and Koto that
surround urban centers.

In addition to Chinese gangs, other foreign groups that imitate the
Chinese groups' methods are suspected of involvement in the rising
number of such thefts. The MPD warned that several burglary gangs are
behind the increase in the number.

According to the police, the number of burglaries reported in Tokyo
has been decreasing since it peaked in 2000 at 39,502. The number
stood at 19,278 last year. Decreases in the number are attributed to
the Picking Prevention Law coming into force in 2003, which made
possessing certain lock-opening tools illegal, and the intensification
of the hunt for illegal aliens.

Although the number of burglaries reported from January through August
this year stood at 11,897, down 6.7 percent from the same period a
year earlier, the number of lock pickings jumped to 425 from 191.

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