No. of minors victimized in crimes via SNS hits record high in 2014

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of children aged 17 or younger who fell victim to crimes via social networking services or community sites in 2014 hit a record high, the National Police Agency reported Thursday.

The number of suspected crimes involving such services and sites increased 128 from the previous year to 1,421, the most since 2008 when the NPA started taking the tally, the agency said.

Of the total, 1,118, or 78.7 percent, used smartphones. The spread of smartphone use is increasing the risk of becoming a crime victim, an NPA official said, calling for careful use of the devices.

A total of 1,329 victims, or 93.5 percent, were victims of crimes violating an ordinance on protecting and nurturing minors or laws on child prostitution or pornography, while the rest were victims of felony crimes such as murder and rape.

By age, the largest number of victims were 17-year-olds, at 340, followed by 16-year-olds at 338 and 15-year-olds at 304, according to the agency.

The number of minors victimized via Internet messaging boards totaled 439, up 87 from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of victims in crimes involving online dating sites was 152, down seven from the previous year, following the introduction of tightened regulations on those sites.

April 16, 2015(Mainichi Japan)

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