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Japan’s elderly people are committing more crimes than its teenagers

Stabbing in Japan
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye
More likely to have been a grandpa than a grandson.
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Japan’s police have taken action against more elderly people than youths in the first half of this year, for the first time since the country began tracking statistics in the 1980s. It’s probably not because of a surge in dastardly senior citizens—it’s yet another marker of Japan’s rapidly aging population.

People aged 65 or older make up 26% of Japan’s population, and seniors were subject to 23,656 police actions from January through June. That compares to 19,670 police actions involving people between the ages of 14 and 19, the Japan Times reported yesterday. The juvenile crime rate fell 15.3% from the same period last year due to significant declines in thefts and violent crimes, the national police agency reports, while the number of elderly crimes rose 10.8%.

In South Korea, which also has an aging population that is committing more crimes, experts have suggested that poverty and isolation among the elderly are also contributing factors, the BBC reports.

Overall crime remains very low in Japan, where the number of crimes have declined in general since 2002. Total crime in the first half of this year fell 8.8% from 2014, the agency said. If the decline continues at that pace, the total number of crimes in 2015 could fall to below the post-World War II low of 1,190,549, reached in 1973.

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