Osaka Police's Blue Motorcycle Squad Driving Out Special Fraud
Osaka, Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)--The "sky blue" squad of police motorcyclists in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, is playing a part in clamping down on special fraud targeting mainly elderly people.
The corps at the Osaka prefectural police department's local bureau was founded in 1997 as the country's first police motorcycle unit different from the "shirobai" units of white motorcycles set up at the traffic departments of police departments across Japan mainly for tackling traffic violations.
The squad of "aobai" blue motorcycles, which was initially designed to combat snatching and other street crimes, is now taking on the new mission by making use of its quick response capabilities.
In Osaka, the number of cases of snatching recognized by the prefectural police has been declining since peaking at 10,973 in 2000, and totaled only 55 in the first seven months of this year. Meanwhile, special fraud cases recognized by the police in the same seven months stood at some 800, with the total amount of money stolen reaching some 1.41 billion yen, up 180 million yen from a year before.
From this month, the sky blue squad is being mobilized for stepped-up operations to combat special fraud, such as alerting elderly people who are using automated teller machines. "We want to eliminate special fraud by thoroughly taking precautions through the use of the squad's capabilities to act quickly," Koichiro Toshioka, a senior official at the Osaka police's local bureau, told members of the squad at a ceremony to launch the special operations.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]