Tokyo police advising elderly residents to be aware of household robberies

Tokyo police are stepping up their campaign to raise public awareness of what people can do to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of robbery. The move comes amid a recent string of household robberies in the area, including one in which a 90-year-old woman was killed after being tied up in her home in Komae City in January.

On Thursday, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department were seen visiting homes in Minato Ward in central Tokyo.

They handed out a check list of things that people are encouraged to do, such as, "lock the door whenever they go out even for a short period of time, for example, to take out the garbage."

The residents were also advised to take advantage of an automatic telephone recording device that they can borrow from the local government for free, as a way to fend off criminals who call randomly in a telephone fraud.

The officers asked the residents to call the police, without hesitation, if they see someone who looks suspicious in their neighborhood.

One resident in her 80s said she had been watching news about robberies in Tokyo almost every day. She added that she will be more careful because she thinks it may happen to her any day in the future.

According to the police, during the week following a robbery-murder case in Komae City, there was more than a 20 percent increase in the number of calls from people reporting about suspicious-looking people.

The deputy head of a police station in Minato Ward, Kumamoto Hidetomo, said the police are sending out anti-crime information to residents in a variety of ways.
He hopes they realize a household robbery could happen to anyone, and they will take preventive measures.

Regarding the series of robberies including Komae's case, investigations on a suspected fraud group are underway. Tokyo police arrested four Japanese men who were repatriated from the Philippines in February.