Senior Shoplifting – Japan’s Baby Boomers getting busted….
Japan is one of the world’s richest and technologically advance countries in the world. Yet, despite the affluence a growing number of senior citizens in Japan are being busted for shoplifting.
Japaneses seniors receive adequate pensions and social security, so why do they steal. One commentator attributes the senior shoplifting to Japan’s seniors being cut off from the rest of society. Many are living alone for the first time in their lives. Sibylle Ito had thought that “shoplifting is done by attention deprived juveniles, but looking at the actual figures for young people (14 to 19 years old) shoplifting is on the decline in Japan. Recently seniors need to be watched closely. First I had assumed that the in comparison low Japanese social security or pension forces the elderly to steal, but the reason is for me more terrifying. It seems that loneliness and being cut off from society caused a rise in crime. …..Looking now solely at the responses of these mature Japanese, 55.4 percent were single and 40.2 percent were living alone. Of these shoplifters sadly almost 90% reported to have few friends, if any at all. Further 48 percent said they had no one to consult in case of any problems. Half of the elderly suspects seem rather depressed to me, because they stated that they had nothing to live for.” See the full article at Where Mt. Fuji Meets the Matterhorn.
Senior shoplifting is not a major problem in the USA yet, but it is a growing problem. See this blog for some illustrations and observations by senior thieves’ family members.
Recently, a 86 year old Chicago women was arrested for shoplifting for the 61st time.
A lesson from the situation in Japan could be that US boomers need to stay active in the community and remain healthily connected to family and friends.