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Crime in Tsukuba

Author: Vivian Lee, Issue: March 2007, Topic: Safety, Location: Tsukuba City

Some people come to Japan with the impression that there is little or no crime. I too had such a notion when I first arrived but soon realized that though Japan is a relatively safe country, like anywhere else residents should be alert at all times. To my disbelief 4 years ago I left a camera in my bicycle basket (for a whole day in Tsukuba centre) without having it stolen...it was extraordinary. Unfortunately this also gave me a false sense of security about safety levels in Tsukuba. Over the years things have changed and the Tsukuba Express now connects Tsukuba to Tokyo by train...bringing along with it convenience and potentially, crime.

Newspapers and TV in Japanese inform citizens of dangers around the area but for foreigners who are unable to understand Japanese fully, it can be hard to know what dangers exist in the community. I surveyed some foreign citizens, requesting they submit their own experiences involving crime in Tsukuba. The following are the results from that informal survey.

The most problematic issues:

  • burglary due to unlocked or open windows
  • bicycle theft
  • exhibitionists (targeting young women or children)

Report on Crime in Tsukuba

Breaking and Entering

WHEN:January 2006
WHERE: Matsushiro 4-chome, university guest house area
WHAT: burglar intrusion (via small bathroom window) in his house and neighbor's house, too
DAMAGE: messy house (but lucky there were no valuables, cash)

WHEN: summer 1999
WHAT: cash for paying shaken (15man yen!...150,000yen)
WHERE: Tsukuba university dormitories amakubo 1 floor, in desk drawer (entered by window)

Petty Crime

WHEN: last year
WHAT: money stolen from wallet inside purse
WHERE: library (university)

WHEN: December 2006
WHAT: blank photo album stolen from bicycle basket (only 500yen value!!!)
WHERE: outside Daystown bicycle parking area

Bicycles

WHEN: last year
WHAT: bike stolen
WHERE: ichinoya

WHEN: a few months ago
WHAT: bike stolen
WHERE: ichinoya

WHEN: December 2006 (while on a one-day biz trip to Tokyo)
WHAT: bike stolen
WHERE: Tsukuba Centre (parking lot under NOVA HALL area)

WHEN: Night from October 20 to 21, 2006
WHAT: sports bike stolen
WHERE: near the Tsukuba Express station, just behind the koban (police station)

WHEN: couple years ago and October 2006
WHAT: bikes stolen twice
WHERE: (once by Tsukuba University central libary...forgot to lock it, once from Kasuga 4-chome area...locked, mid-day rainy in October 2006)

Serious Crime

WHEN: early 2007
WHAT: murder or suicide (police ruled it as suicide but...)
WHERE: Hyaake (in kanji, one-hundred houses)
DETAILS: this was in the news - a man in his mid-30's was found around 5a.m. the day after he was killed or committed suicide...found with headphones on and killed with a kitchen knife

WHEN: December 2006
WHAT: murder or suicide (not sure...)
WHERE: originated in Amakubo but body found later...nearby in a creek
DETAILS: unknown...man in his 30's found dead almost 3 weeks after he went missing after a drinking party

Other

WHEN: September 2001 in Tsukuba
WHAT: At night a large car with dark glasses (Yakuza style) went out from a minor road at night. I had to brake suddenly, and "complained" from my car. The guy(s) in the car let me go, but after that he/they (I could not tell how many they were) followed me very closely (seemed less than a meter, or just few meters), and as I accelerated, they did so. We kept running like crazy, and I realized that they were after me, so it was practically a car race (nice sound of tires, smell of tires and overheated brakes...). This went on from Koyadai to Arakawaoki (about 5 kilometers) where I suddenly turned into the police station (a koban station near road that brings to the station) and they ran away, to fast for the police to run after them.
WARNING: I do not if this can be classified as a crime, but it is informative for foreigners not to look for trouble when you have to deal with big cars with dark windows, or if you do, to (1) be sure you are a much better driver and (2) run to police anyway.

WHEN: ongoing
WHAT: peeper (peeping Tom) looks into the mail hole (see someone shower)
WHERE: Kasuga 4-chome
DETAILS: I didn't see his face but I think the man was Japanese because he kept saying things to me, through the mail hole, and it was in Japanese (and without a foreign accent, as far as I can tell). It took a lot of shouting and cursing to make the man leave. I immediately told my fudosan and they installed for me a sensor light above my entrance door. I also put a cover inside, on the mail hole, so that nobody can see inside through it. I think the guy tried one more time but he eventually gave up because of the sensor light which would lit up every time it detected movement.

GENERAL:

  • I hear that there is about one armed robbery a week of convenience stores in Tsukuba.
  • I was flashed by a male exhibitionist INSIDE Tsukuba Ishimaru electronics shop at around 10:30a.m. on a weekday
  • There are some suspicious people who drive around Ninomiya area, looking for children (the school sent home warnings to parents)
  • Doho Park and especially Akatsuka Park are dangerous in early hours and at night...esp. Akatsuka for drug deals and, apparently homosexual trysts... so it has been said, and is famous on the internet (in Japanese, so they say)
  • The pedestrian walk should be avoided at night. Some people (even men) were attacked by a gang of young men, they tried to hang on his bicycle and get his wallet.
  • I was told some owners of Mercedes belong to Japanese gangs...so best not to mess with them.
  • I had my wallet stolen from my car (I left it inside there) and also there has been a flasher in my local area.

I always wondered if the police ever solved the two most famous Tsukuba crimes I heard about:

1. The knife murder of the Japanese translator of that Salamon Rushdie book about Islam in the stairwell of a university building.

2. The murder of a coed in the parkland around Tsukuba university some years ago.

Conclusions

Please do not be alarmed by this 'crime report' - just keep in mind that you should be aware of your surroundings and not allow yourself to easily become a victim of crime. Keep those windows and doors locked.

<< TsukuBlog: February 2007 | Master Index | Ecoshop System >>


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