crime

String of burglaries reported in quake-hit Kumamoto

29 Comments

In the aftermath of a series of earthquakes that forced thousands of people to leave their homes in Kumamoto Prefecture last month, police said there have been a string of burglaries of homes and abandoned offices.

Some residents who had taken refuge in evacuation facilities have reported that their damaged homes were robbed when they went back to check. Police said some office buildings had also been ransacked, Sankei Shimbun reported.

In response to these incidents of property invasion, Kumamoto prefectural police have both strengthened patrols and alerted residents, especially in the hardest hit areas of Mashiro and Minami-Aso, as well as Kumamoto City.

According to police, between April 14, when the first earthquake hit, and May 4, there have been 36 reported cases of vandalism and damage from theft at both homes and office buildings in Kumamoto City alone.

In one case, two men were caught in the act of ransacking an empty apartment building in Kumamoto City, when the owner suddenly returned. Police said the two men, who had come from Fukuoka Prefecture, told them they were looking for safes in the abandoned apartments.

Police are urging evacuees, especially elderly people who return home, to lock their doors even if they step out of their residence for a brief moment and to report any suspicious persons to police.

A spokesman for the Minami-Aso police said, “There is an ongoing risk that criminals will continue to take advantage of the aftermath of the quake, so we urge people to be vigilant to avoid falling victims to these thieves.”

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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The lowest of the low. These kind of scum popped up in the aftermath the Tohoku disasters as well. I hope the police can step up patrols of damaged areas and arrest anyone suspicious, and punish severely those caught looting/stealing from damaged homes and businesses instead of just asking owners, who have evacuated, to 'be vigilant'.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Remember what happened in Florida after hurricane Katrina? The police and national guard had 'shoot on sight' orders for looters and thieves.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Disillusioned: I think shoot on site is too extreme, but they need to do SOMEthing beyond expecting the people who are not there to be 'vigilant'. After all, the nation is clearly not the safe, wallet-returning nation that YouTube uploaders from here would have you think.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

whatever happened to the innate honesty of our Japanese hosts?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

they need to do SOMEthing beyond expecting the people who are not there to be 'vigilant'.

From the article: "In response to these incidents of property invasion, Kumamoto prefectural police have both strengthened patrols and alerted residents..."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Remember what happened in Florida after hurricane Katrina? The police and national guard had 'shoot on sight' orders for looters and thieves.

Not sure about Florida, but I remember New Orleans. The police officers set themselves up on a bridge, said they were being fired apon and opened up on a group of innocent survivors walking along the street, killing 3 and wounding 4.

They were just sentenced recently.

But I can't see the connection between this dreadful incident and a couple of sneak thieves in Kumamoto.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The police and national guard had 'shoot on sight' orders for looters and thieves."

Are you sure about that?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In response to these incidents of property invasion, Kumamoto prefectural police have both strengthened patrols .....

If they had any common sense they would have had the patrols out in anticipation BEFORE the robberies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Very sad to hear, but the World is a changing place.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think shoot on site is too extreme

Why? Scumbags.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Very sad to hear, but the World is a changing place.

Changing? Just because you don't hear about crap like this doesn't mean it hasn't been happening since forever here.

YOU are changing and waking up to the reality that Japan is like anywhere else in the world. Don't let the media fool you into believing that it isn't.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I agree Yubaru...it has been here since forever.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hahaha who loves the Yakuza now :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Simple and effective----shoot looters on sight!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Exactly as someone above says, Japan is the same as everywhere else, good and bad people. Trust no-one.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Even family safes aren't safe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is called 'looting' and I would not be surprised if shops, departments stores and the like are missing stock. If they can't actually catch them I'd like to see cops armed with paint guns that use the same dye as those little devices that colour stolen money. Pick them up later at the sento.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Harry_Gatto at May. 05, 2016 - 06:29PM JST In response to these incidents of property invasion, Kumamoto prefectural police have both strengthened patrols .....

If they had any common sense they would have had the patrols out in anticipation BEFORE the robberies."

I think at that point they were a bit busy, you know, saving peoples' lives, helping folks evacuate, etc. And that IS common sense in my opinion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unfortunately.... slowly but surely, Japan's Culture of Honesty and Integrity is fading. I know, as usual, many of you will compare Japan to other countries, but that does not fix the problem. Japan needs to wake up in these changing times and prepare for the possibility of bad people doing bad things after unfortunate acts of Nature such as this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe they were looking for food? Blankets? Anything that is necessary to live.

If not, this is a sad day. Stealing from those who have nothing left.

Is there a way I can donate to Japan to help the earthquake stricken people? I live in Canada.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you compare the amount of looting and vandalism in Kumamoto, (according to the article) at 36 since the earthquake. (so around 2 a day) Also Kumamoto has a population of 734,000. Now lets look at New Orleans. It has a population 378,000. It had a burglary rate of around 40 a day after the hurricane. Id rather look at that. Also I would like to see how many are vandalism (which would probably be kids to young adults) and burglaries.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Simple and effective----shoot looters on sight!

Taser them and even that can be extreme for a non-violent crime. We are living in the 2000s not the 1800s.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ Jason Brown: Lets suppose that 20 years ago there was no looting after such natural disasters in Japan.... I mean, I never heard of any. Given that your a math guy, 20 years from now, if such an unfortunate act of mother nature happened again.... do you think there will be more incidents of looting per capita or less?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My point was, that people just believe in extremes (either look Japan is getting worse there is looting, or wow people in Japan don't loot or burglarize) which is silly, there is generally just less looting in Japan, and I do not see any metric that there is a rise or drop in looting in Japan. Just doing a simple google search, you can find looting from other earthquakes in Japan (surprised you didn't look). I.e, 3/11 and the 1995 Kobe quake, there were also incidents of looting, but on par with other countries when dealing with burglaries and crime after a natural disaster, it is often more pervasive in Japan. I have not been able to find any evidence that there will be more or less crime. Its just around par.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Jason Brown.... "people just believe in extremes". Think about that. The "people" that read comments on this website are generally quite knowledgeable on Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People in other counties like to bring up Japan as a shiing example when comparing it to post disaster situatiins in ither countries. what they dont know is that looting occurs, just like everywhere else, but the media ignores that...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru

YOU are changing and waking up to the reality that Japan is like anywhere else in the world. Don't let the media fool you into believing that it isn't.

Bob Sneider

People in other counties like to bring up Japan as a shiing example when comparing it to post disaster situatiins in ither countries. what they dont know is that looting occurs, just like everywhere else, but the media ignores that...

This is true. No nation or race is superior or inferior. We all breath the same and all eat rice (or maybe pasta :-p) In my case, it was my Japanese boss who outlined the orderliness of Japanese during crisis when compared to other nations.

Its just too farfetched. I never believed him . What can happen in any parts of the world can and is and will happen in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Somebody upthread said that this happened in Tohoku. Uh yeah. You could say that, except that if you consider the huge area involved and eliminate the long term looting that has been possible in Fukushima because people have not been allowed to return home, then the looting amounted to just about zero.

In all the reading I have done on it, it appears that there were cases of people from Kanto and Kansai coming up and looking for safes. There was a famous case of Kirin's distribution center losing a good amount of beer. Looting or "not letting it go to waste"? People don't seem to rush to judgment on the matter. And the safes? People turned them in to the police station. After a couple of weeks, the police had hundreds of unopened safes waiting for people to come and claim them.

But in all my travels I never saw any looting or heard of it. The orderly nature of the people there has been widely reported and documented by local, national and international media. And factor in that Tohoku was cut off from food, water, and gasoline distribution for quite a long time. People still kept calm. Storekeepers sold their frozen stuff off at half price the day after the quake and became heroes to the community. Nobody would rip them off or let them be ripped off.

I want to strike the bell of xenophobia here. Looters in Japan are rarely locals. Rumors abounded of "foreigners" coming into the region to steal. I have a feeling that most Japanese thought of looting as so heinous that only a foreigner would do it, and that seems right. I mean, even the Yakuza were handing out food, not jacking convenience stores. In my community, outsiders were always challenged. People watched out for each other. I think people in Tohoku, and especially in rural communities, are pretty tight, and they know their neighbors. People did not hide inside. They got out and repaired their homes and streets and stayed visible, with eyes open.

Get to know your neighbors and they will keep people from stealing your stuff.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Time in the stocks needs to be reintroduced for people caught doing things like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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