The recent spate of robberies has attracted public interest in home security measures.
On Wednesday, a 79-year-old woman from Sumida Ward, Tokyo, was browsing security products at the home center Kohnan Koto-Fukagawa in Koto Ward, Tokyo.
I ve been on my guard against criminals, sleeping with the lights of the first floor on and things like that, but I'm still worried, she said.
The store manager said he had seen a huge increase in the number of customers seeking home security supplies since the robbery and murder in Komae, Tokyo, on January 19 as part of the larger robbery spree. In the week that followed, sales of security products at his store were five times higher than usual.
In the recent robberies, it has been confirmed that the perpetrators either forced their way in through the front door by pretending to be a delivery driver or broke in through windows.
Extra locks can be attached to doors and windows, according to the home center's best-selling products. These locks are said to increase the odds that criminals will give up because they lengthen the time it takes to break in.
The Hands Shinjuku household goods store in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, has a special section for home security.
The store has sold out of alarms that go off in response to a break-in through a window. Sales of portable safety alarms have increased fourfold. There was a high interest in security cameras, and even fake security cameras have been selling well.
Home security services are experiencing a boom in inquiries, with Tokyo-based security company Secom Co. having received about five times as many requests in late January. Many customers are afraid of a run-in with a criminal, according to the company.
Crime prevention analyst Reiko Sakurai, from the Japan Security School, says one should answer the door with the door chain drawn when an unexpected package arrives, or ask the delivery driver to leave the package by the front door and pick it up later.
She said if someone breaks in, it is best not to resist. If the perpetrators demand money, hand it over without arguing.
There is a possibility that a criminal group may have looked into what possessions you have at home and your family structure before, Sakurai said. Make a habit of always being careful and don't respond to phone calls that ask for your personal information.