String of Robberies Rouses Interest in Home Security

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A woman shops for home security goods at Kohnan Koto-Fukagawa in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

The series of robberies reported over the past month have aroused public interest in home security measures.

On Wednesday, a 79-year-old woman from Sumida Ward, Tokyo, was browsing security products at home center Kohnan Koto-Fukagawa in Koto Ward, Tokyo.

“I’ve been on my guard against criminals, sleeping with the lights of the first floor on and things likes that, but I’m still worried,” she said.

The store’s manager said he had seen a sharp increase in the number of customers seeking home security supplies since the robbery and murder in Komae, Tokyo, on Jan. 19, part of the larger robbery spree. In the week that followed, sales of security products at his store were about five times higher than usual.

In the recent robberies, it has been confirmed that the perpetrators either forced their way in through the front door by posing as a delivery driver or broke in through windows.

The home center’s best-selling products are extra locks that can be attached to doors and windows. Since they lengthen the time it takes to break in, these locks are said to increase the odds criminals will give up.

The household goods store Hands Shinjuku in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, has set up a special section for home security.

The store has sold out of alarms that go off in response to a break-in through a window. Sales of portable personal safety alarms have also increased fourfold. Interest in security cameras was high, too, and even fake security cameras have been selling well.

Home security services, meanwhile, are enjoying a boom in inquiries, with Tokyo-based security company Secom Co. having received about five times as many requests as usual in late January. The company said many customers are afraid of having a run-in with a criminal.

Crime prevention analyst Reiko Sakurai from the Japan Security School says one should answer the door with the door chain drawn when an unexpected package arrives, or ask the delivery driver to leave the package by the front door and pick it up later.

If someone breaks in, she said, it is best not to resist. If the perpetrators demand money, hand it over without arguing.

“There is a possibility that a criminal group may have looked into what possessions you have at home and your family structure beforehand,” Sakurai said. “Make a habit of always being careful, and don’t respond to phone calls that ask for your personal information.”