Crime rate skyrockets in Fukushima evacuation zone

07/15/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — Crime in the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant during the first six months of 2011 doubled compared to last year, according to the National Police Agency (NPA).

The number of crimes violating the Criminal Code from January to June in the nine municipalities jumped to 355 cases, up from just 115 during the same period in 2010.

“The zone is too broad for us to be able to keep an eye on it all,” an NPA official said on condition of anonymity.

NPA officials estimate the bulk of the crimes to have been committed in the weeks immediately after the zone was evacuated as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor went into meltdown and began leaking radiation following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region.

Entry into the zone is forbidden by law, but the roughly 500 police officers guarding and patrolling the area are having trouble policing it. Only nine crimes have been solved, resulting in the arrest of 24 people.

NPA officials said that theft accounted for the bulk of crimes in the exclusion, making up 331 of the 355 crimes. Thefts were reported from 169 homes, 44 offices and 28 convenience store ATMs. There were 19 cases of cars or motorcycles being stolen in the zone.

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