JDR Vol.18 No.5 pp. 524-530
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2023.p0524


The Effect of the Kumamoto Earthquakes on the Increase of Burglaries

Hideo Okamoto*1,†, Toyoji Saito*2,*3, Atsuhiro Utsunomiya*4, Yukio Okada*5, and Anna Matsukawa*6

*1Division of Human Life and Environmental Sciences, Nara Women’s University
Kitauoyanishi-machi, Nara, Nara 630-8506, Japan

Corresponding author

*2Osaka Bar Association
Osaka, Japan

*3Konan University
Kobe, Japan

*4Graduate School of Clinical Psychology, Kagoshima University
Kagoshima, Japan

*5Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences, Kumamoto University
Kumamoto, Japan

*6Graduate School of Disaster Resilience and Governance, University of Hyogo
Kobe, Japan

January 31, 2023
June 5, 2023
August 1, 2023
disaster, burglary, Kumamoto earthquake, intervention analysis, routine activity theory

Although the overall crime rate of an area decreases after a major disaster, the occurrence of some types of crime may increase. This may be explained by the routine activity theory, which suggests that the absence of a capable guardian and other factors induce occurrence of crime, such as when houses become temporarily unoccupied due to the evacuation of disaster victims and absence of competent guards. This study used interference analysis to investigate whether the aftermath of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, temporarily increased the number of burglaries in the affected areas. Specifically, we examined whether the number of recognized burglaries temporarily increased after the earthquakes by dividing the land in Kumamoto Prefecture into two areas: one with severe earthquake damage and the other with minor damage. Results demonstrated an increase in the number of burglaries in the severely damaged areas in April and May 2016. The impact of the earthquakes was significant in April, but decreased notably in May. Contrastingly, the number of burglaries remained unchanged in areas with minor earthquake damage. Therefore, a correlation was found between the severe damage caused by the earthquakes and the transient increase in the number of burglaries.

Cite this article as:
H. Okamoto, T. Saito, A. Utsunomiya, Y. Okada, and A. Matsukawa, “The Effect of the Kumamoto Earthquakes on the Increase of Burglaries,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.18 No.5, pp. 524-530, 2023.
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Last updated on Sep. 29, 2023