A high-profile case in which police put off a stalking complaint and went on vacation, and the victim's mother and grandmother were later found slain, has put the spotlight on stalking.
However, the number of stalking cases recognized by police in 2011 dropped by about 1,500 to 14,618 across the country, according to a report released by the National Police Agency.
The NPA data, released March 22, showed it was the fourth consecutive year that the number of cases such as stalking and silent calls exceeded 14,000.
In the murders in December in Nagasaki Prefecture, a man is suspected of killing the victim's mother and grandmother.
The suspect, from Mie Prefecture, was later arrested by Nagasaki police.
The father of a woman, a resident in Chiba Prefecture, who had been stalked by the suspect, went to Narashino Police Station in Chiba Prefecture in December to file a complaint. He was asked to wait a week before submitting his request for an investigation.
It was later found the officers traveled to Hokkaido for three days on a trip after seeing the father.
According to the NPA data, a total of 1,288 warnings were issued by the police last year under the anti-stalking law, a decrease of 56 from the previous year.
However, the number of orders against persistent nuisances given to perpetrators who ignored police warnings totaled 55, an increase by 14 over 2010 and the highest since the law was enacted in 2000. The orders are given by the public safety commission in each prefecture against people who do not obey police warnings and continue to violate the law.
In eight cases, a drop from seven in the previous year, assailants were arrested for ignoring police warnings. Police made arrests in 197 cases, a drop of 23, after victims filed complaints.
The police were criticized for their reluctance to deal with violations of laws other than the anti-stalking law.
There were 786 cases, a decrease of 91 from 2010, in which suspects were accused of violating other laws, instead of the anti-stalking laws.
Of these, 125 were accused of home invasions, 120 of causing injuries and 91 of destruction of property. Murder and attempted murder cases totaled seven.
The number of recognized stalking cases in Chiba, Mie and Nagasaki prefectures, which were related to the Nagasaki case, were, respectively, 456 (a drop of 187 from 2010), 272 (an increase of 40), and 104 (a decrease of 16).
By prefecture, Osaka prefectural police had the largest number of “officially” recognized cases, at 1,260. The lowest was the 31 cases recorded by Shimane prefectural police.
The number of accusations made by the three prefectural police departments were 41 in Chiba Prefecture, 13 in Mie Prefecture and seven in Nagasaki Prefecture.
Chiba prefectural police ranked fifth, behind Hyogo, Osaka, Aichi and Shizuoka prefectural police.
Meanwhile, domestic violence cases increased in 2011 by 477 over 2010 to 34,329 confirmed cases, the highest since the anti-domestic violence law took effect in 2001.
The NPA attributed the rise to increased awareness of domestic violence in society, which led to an increase in the number of victims seeking consultations.
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