March 2018


Our monthly online newsletter, "L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place, area, cosmos, and gap.

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Give Some Thought to Crime Prevention at Home

One weekend, Mei and Layla are invited to the home of their boss, Noriaki, and his wife, Nao. Having arrived at the couple’s home, it seems that they wish to consult with Noriaki about something.

The fact of the matter is that a friend’s home was recently robbed while they were out. In that Mei and I both live alone, we’ve become a little uneasy regarding the possibility of something similar happening to us. Of course, we hate the idea of our money and possessions being robbed, however, what if when returning home one day, we should happen to come face to face with an intruder…
Layla
Tokyo is well-known internationally as a very safe city, however, we should still keep on our guard. With that in mind, what should we be doing to prevent crime from happening in the homes where we live?
Mei
My first piece of advice is very simple. Please be thorough in making sure that both your front doors and windows are locked. As to how thieves sneak into homes in order to steal the valuables of householders, their most common modus operandi is gaining access via unlocked windows and doors.
Noriaki
That reminds me Layla, I heard somewhere that Canadians don’t tend to lock their doors at home. Is that true?
Mei
I’ve heard that story as well. Nevertheless, I don’t think that is the case in major cities! Where I grew up in a small rural town, there were actually some people who didn’t bother locking their doors. What is more, when I was a small girl, I remember as well that sometimes my family would go out without locking up at all.
Layla
I can appreciate that because I was also brought up in rural Hokkaido. In that you, Mei, were raised in the metropolis of Singapore, I would assume that you tend to be very thorough when it comes to locking up.
Nao
That is correct. I find it difficult to believe that people would go out without bothering to lock up their homes.
Mei
Even in Tokyo, it is apparently the case that many people leave their homes unlocked if they are just popping out to put their trash at the local trash collection site or in order to pop down to the neighborhood convenience store. However, in that it is said that 40% of robberies of empty homes take between just five and ten minutes to complete, while 30% are done in under five minutes, even if you just happen to be popping out for a moment or two, you need to take the time to ensure that everything is securely locked.
Noriaki
To put that argument differently, 70% of robbers will give up if it takes them five minutes to get into an empty home. That figure rises to 90% if committing the crime takes ten minutes. Thus, so that intruders cannot get in easily, it is recommended that you take steps such as adding additional locks to windows and doors; and applying security film to the panes of any windows.
Nao
Furthermore, because intruders hate “Light” and “Sound,”it is effective if you install lights equipped with motion sensors in front of your front door and on any verandas. It is also effective to equip any windows with crime-prevention alarms.
Noriaki
That being said, because both of you are renting condos, you should consult with your landlords and property managers before doing anything yourselves.
Nao

The four friends then continue their discussion while enjoying some tea.

In that we live on the upper floors of our condos, I thought that it would be difficult for us to be targeted for robberies. What is more, the buildings have automatic locks at their entrances.
Layla
I’ve actually heard that there are many cases of condos with auto-locks being targeted as well. The reason for that is that there are people who believe they are safe in such buildings and who don’t take the time to lock their doors. Regarding people who live on the upper floors as well, I have often heard of cases whereby intruders get themselves on the roof of a building and then slide down a rope in order to gain access via verandas.
Noriaki
And what else do you pay close attention to in order to protect your home?
Mei
For freestanding houses like this one, what is very important is to convey the impression that it would be a difficult home to get into because everything is well managed. As such, it is vital to keep the area around the home clean and tidy, and we also check to make sure there is no evidence of “marking.”
Nao
Marking?
Mei
Yes, when robbers who are intent on breaking into empty homes scout for potential targets in advance, they will often leave subtle signs around name plates, around interphone units or in the vicinity of the front door which identify a home as a possible target. If you find evidence of such marking it is important to erase it as quickly as possible. Doing so will tell any potential robber that you are “aware of their existence.” Even if you live in a condominium block as well, you should be careful because marking often also appears in the vicinity of common letterboxes in the lobby.
Noriaki
What you have told us is to thoroughly lock our doors, and to make our homes places that cannot be entered easily even if they happen to be targeted. What is more, it is also very important to demonstrate that as householders we have a high level of consciousness regarding crime prevention.
Mei
I feel that I have learned a lot. Thank you very much for everything today!
Layla

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