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Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: The Japanese Koban System

3 pages
666 words
Boston College
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The Japanese community policing techniques is a unique case study whose success has caught the attention of many across different countries. The Japanese government is one that came up with the concept of police boxes that are placed strategically within a certain community in order to help boost the security of the local people. The main characteristics of the koban are that they are meant to be part of the local community and they take part in the activities that are related to the daily life of the people. The other idea is to let the community known of the presence of the police officers and they are there to watch out for crime prevention and to respond to any form of emergencies that may come up.

The Japanese Koban system was formulated in the 17th to 19th century upon the end of the Edo period where Japan was ruled by shoguns. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department embarked on development the of police boxes (koban) within communities to make administration easier. As of 2004, there are over 6500 police boxes across Japan with over 45,000 police officers at Kobans (Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach, 6th edition, 2018).

The Koban system is one that can be replicated across different cities globally, the system of community policing allows the available of a representative of the government at almost all villages within the state. The basic duties of the police offer include watching from the front of koban, inside and filed duties like community patrols and door to door inquiries. It is important to note that if a crime is committed, the police officers at the koban are the first responders at all times. It is imperative to understand that these police officers are also responsible for the security intelligence within their community, they are the oversight team (Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach, 6th edition, 2018).

The police officers at the Koban are usually the first responders if a crime is committed. When an emergency call is made, the place a Koban receive a notification of disturbance at the local community. Upon receiving a command, officers are dispatched to the scene. If medical help is required, they would call for ambulance services and cordon off the area for the metropolitan police units and even more specialized teams. Usually, these police officers are sent to find and even arrest suspects by setting up checkpoints across different road networks ("Police Box (Koban) System - Japan National Tourism Organization", 2018).

Crime clearance by community police officers helps to reduce the backlog of criminal files piling at central police stations. Koban police officers are usually the first responders to crime scenes, they are also in reducing crime reports such as traffic offenses and jaywalking. These simple crimes ought not to reach the court systems, the police officers play the key role in solving and clearing criminal cases within the streets. This helps to reduce reports of mild nature such as street fights being filed to a metropolitan police department. It is hence highly important that Koban systems operate ("Japanese Koban System and why they are Popular.", 2018).

Kobans also plays the role of communication boxes to residents of a certain community. Usually, door to door visits usually helps the police relate better to the members of the community. They are there to give advice regarding acts of crime, prevention and people listen to the advice given by the police. The community is made aware of crimes, emergency contact numbers and plays the role of aiding police officers in the case of criminal activities within the area ("Police Box (Koban) System - Japan National Tourism Organization", 2018).



Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach, 6th edition. (2018) (2nd ed., pp. 125,187). NY.

Japanese Koban Syste and why they are Popular.. (2018). Retrieved 14 January 2018, from

Police Box (Koban) System - Japan National Tourism Organization. (2018). Retrieved 14 January 2018, from


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