Saturday, November 8, 2008

Geriatric Evildoers

In low-crime Japan, it's not the young punks; it' s the old folks.

Seniors accounted for 13.3 percent of offenders in 2007, up sharply from just 2.5 percent in 1988. Over the same period the percentage of elderly people in the population nearly doubled to 21.5 percent. Meanwhile the total number of crimes recorded over the period — excluding traffic offenses — dropped 8.1 percent.

It's mostly petty stuff, but not all.

Nearly two-thirds of crimes by the elderly last year were thefts, but the proportion of murders committed by seniors rose 40 percent over the last two decades.

The reasons vary.

Many seniors who were arrested for the first time in their life suddenly turned to crime for reasons including a "feeling that their pride was hurt," the report said.

Elderly people with previous records of serving time showed a tendency to commit crimes out of economic anxiety and apathy in life, it said.

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