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CRIME TRENDS IN JUVENILE CRIME

Trends in Juvenile Crime during the Period 2004-2014

Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The total number of reported (non-traffic) Penal Code cases and the overall clearance rate of cases have been stable for the last three decades, with recent declines. The proportion of juvenile offenders arrested relative to all offenders, however, has interestingly been very high. As you can see Fig. 10.1a, even though the proportion of arrested juvenile offenders is just approximately 25 %, the number of arrested juveniles per 100,000 is at least 250 %> (and a maximum of 500 %>) of the number of the arrested adults

Year

Arrested

Juveniles

Rate per Population of Juveniles

Arrested

Adults

Rate per Population of Adults

2004

155,051

1,209.3

254,437

246.6

2005

144,255

1,146.4

263,498

255.3

2006

131,623

1,058.8

271,794

261.6

2007

121,165

987.9

262,741

252.2

2008

108,592

894.5

249,076

238.7

2009

108,358

900.9

242,876

232.6

2010

103,627

864.7

237,056

227.5

2011

94,369

787.2

228,198

217.3

2012

79,430

666.5

221,901

211.5

2013

69,113

583.9

206,302

196.7

2014

60,251

514.2

203,200

193.8

Source: 1. Criminal Statistics of the National Police Agency (2005-2015).

2. The Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (population data).

Figure 10.1. (a) The number of arrested juvenile offenders and rate per population (100,000) for non-traffic Penal Code offenses (2004-2014). (b) The number of arrested male and female juvenile offenders and the rate per population (100,000) for non-traffic Penal Code offenses (2004-2014). (c) The number of all types of arrested juvenile offenders for non-traffic Penal Code in Japan (2004-2014).

Year

Crime

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Total

155,051

144,255

131,623

121,825

109,088

108,920

104,175

94,859

79,965

69,545

60,733

Homicide

62

73

73

67

56

55

47

60

48

56

57

Robbery

1,301

1,172

912

814

752

739

591

625

643

573

490

Injury

6,996

6.927

6,683

6,372

5,902

5,551

5,671

5,553

5,714

5,343

4,670

Violent

Crime

1,962

1,969

1,887

1,977

1,975

1,728

1,770

1,646

2,046

2,128

1,969

Larceny

90,347

91,409

74,582

69,611

64,141

67,073

64,751

59,382

47,740

41,390

36,147

Fraud

1,106

1,062

1,224

1,144

1,104

1,133

962

947

919

842

908

Threat

3,542

3,141

2,569

2,077

1,900

1,564

1,634

1,403

1,281

1,022

809

embezzlement

embezzlement

40,442

35,767

33,687

29,617

23,399

21,424

19,445

16,421

13,178

10,314

8,706

Rape

158

153

113

139

140

143

142

82

147

147

147

Compulsion

597

472

443

394

402

438

490

455

524

557

501

Arson

282

245

297

233

141

192

135

141

174

137

127

House breaking

3,234

3,260

3,554

3,369

3,345

3,304

3,256

2,992

2,812

2,413

2,238

Destruction

1,972

2,308

2,354

2,596

2,702

2,457

2,142

2,187

1,911

1,909

1,576

Anything else

3,050

3,703

5,761

3,415

3,129

3,119

3,139

2,965

2,828

2,714

2,388

Source: White Paper on Crime, Ministry of Justice, 2005-2015, Tokyo in Japan.

Figure 10.1. (continued).

per 100,000. This means that juveniles commit crimes at rates at least 2.5 times those of adults in Japan. As previously mentioned, the Japanese crime rate has been very low historically. Thinking about this phenomenon, the extremely low crime rate would indicate that the Japanese government has been effectively able to control crime from the vantage of preventing juvenile crime from evolving into adults committing crimes in later years.

As can be seen in Fig. 10.1a, the number of arrested juvenile offenders who committed non-traffic Penal Code offenses has decreased for the last 10 years (2004-2014). The number of arrested adult offenders has been decreasing slightly during the same time period, but the rate for juveniles rapidly decreased in comparison.

Year

Arrested

Male

Juveniles

Rate per Population of Male Juveniles

Arrested

Female

Juveniles

Proportion of the Rate for the all Arrested Juvenile Offenders

Rate per Population of Female Juveniles

2004

102,587

2,501.5

33,231

24.5

852.0

2005

94,758

2,373.6

29,785

23.9

787.1

2006

87,415

2,231.1

26,155

23.0

703.3

2007

79,611

2,078.4

24,310

23.4

667.4

2008

71,460

1,894.8

20,060

21.9

558.5

2009

72,301

1,938.4

18,590

20.5

522.9

2010

69,200

1,862.6

17,248

20.0

488.5

2011

63,257

1,697.0

14,986

19.2

423.2

2012

54,345

1,463.2

11,675

17.7

330.4

2013

47,524

1,283.8

9,429

16.6

267.5

2014

41,823

1,136.5

7,064

14.7

201.6

Source: 1. Criminal Statistics of the National Police Agency (2005-2015).

2. The Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (population data).

Figure 10.1. (continued).

According to the Fig. 10.1b, the number of arrested male juvenile offenders decreased from 102,587 in 2004 to 41,823 in 2014 by 59.2 %; for female offenders, the parallel number decreased from 33,231 in 2004 to 7064 in 2014 by 78.7 %>. In other words, even though all groups have seen a decreased crime rate, the crime rate among female juveniles has declined more drastically and to a greater degree than it has among the other groups in Japan.

The following figure shows the number of arrested juvenile offenders who committed non-traffic Penal Code offenses alongside all of the types of juvenile offenses, including felonies. The number of crimes related to body and life (such as homicide, injury, and rape) has remained stable. However, the number of crimes related to property and theft has decreased (robbery, larceny, embezzlement). Considering that the most frequently committed major types of crime are larceny and embezzlement, consisting of about 74 %> of all the crime types, and the number of crimes are decreasing, these two crime types take the lead with respect to the decreases in juvenile crime rates.

 
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