News Yomiuri Reports Increase of Crime in Akihabara
posted on 2007-06-12 14:08 EDT by Evan Miller
One of Japan's major daily newspapers, the traditionally conservative Yomiuri Shinbun, has reported an increase of criminal activity in Akihabara. The Tokyo neighborhood, which was once known primarily for its many home electronics stores, has become the nation's most popular gathering spot for otaku.
According to the Yomiuri article, an increase in crimes like DVD and video game shoplifting, stolen bags and other crimes is beginning to characterize the neighborhood in a negative way. "Shops where female staff in maid outfits run sex-related service scams are becoming more common," says the article, adding that local police are conducting surveys to develop special measures for handling crimes that happen in Akihabara but rarely occur in other shopping districts.
The Manseibashi Police Station, the arm of the Tokyo Metro Police that monitors the Akihabara area, includes no mention of sex scams on their official webpage. However, the crime statistics on the webpage do point to an increase in thefts in the Akihabara area. In 2006, theft-related crimes accounted for 76 percent of all crime in the Akihabara "Electric Town" area, compared with 64 percent in surrounding areas. The most significant statistic is that extortion and black mail accounted for 32 percent of all theft-related crimes in the shopping area while surrounding areas had an insignificant number of extortion cases.
Manseibashi Police reported to the Yomiuri that Akihabara's shopping district now has about 80 maid-themed businesses, including coffee shops, fortune tellers, beauty parlors, and ear cleaning shops. 29 thefts from customers resting at these shops or in the middle of a game have been recorded so far this year. This is a huge increase when compared to 2006, where just 22 thefts occurred in the entire year.