A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Car Thefts in Tsukuba

As RrFish mentioned yesterday, car thefts are on the rise in Tsukuba. I also received a notice from the Tsukuba Central Police Station warning people that car thefts are on the rise in Tsukuba, particularly since August of this year. Tsukuba now has the most car thefts in the region. They are advising people to be careful and not to let their guard down in thinking “it couldn’t happen to me”.

Here are some facts about car theft in Tsukuba.

1. The number of car thefts that occurred up to September 2007 has already surpassed the number that occurred in all of 2006, and is close to the total number for 2005.

2. The area that is policed by Tsukuba Central Police Station contains 5.5% of the population of Ibaraki. However, in 2005, this area had 10% of the car thefts in the prefecture. In 2006, it had 7.6%, and so far in 2007, it has had 11.2% of the car thefts.

3. What kinds are cars are being stolen?

Passenger vehicles: 87 (48.3%)
Commercial vehicles: 62 (34.4%)
Construction vehicles: 11 (6.1%)
Other specialized vehicles: 6 (3.3%)
Other: 14

4. Can’t I just lock my car?

Most of the cars that were stolen were locked.

No key in ignition: 128 (71.1%)
Key in ignition: 52 (28.9%)

Locked: 176 (97.8%)
Unlocked: 4 (2.8%)

5. Is it worse in the daytime or night?

Most of the thefts happened at night (160 incidents).

6. Where did these thefts happen?

Apartment, house parking lots: 32 (17.8%)
Office parking lots: 28 (15.6%)
Store parking lots (including convenience stores, bars, supermarkets, pachinko): 26 (27%)
Construction sites: 28 (15.6%)
Public facility parking lots (hospitals, city hall, gymnasiums, children’s halls): 7 (3.9%)

What can I do?

You car can get stolen even if you lock the door and take the key out of the ignition, but it is still a good idea to do both.

Think about installing anti-theft devices such as immobilizers and GPS. They are expensive, but effective.

Think of ways to protect your parking lot. You may not be able to park your car in a garage with a door, but install lighting and think about installing a camera.

Pay attention to what is going on around you. Our eyes and ears are the best protection against theft.

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