TOKYO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of recorded criminal offenses in Japan dropped to a record low in 2017 with the figure marking the 15th straight year of decline, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
According to the agency's preliminary data, there were 915,111 recorded cases of criminal offenses in 2017, which was 81,000 cases, or 8.1 percent less compared to a year earlier.
The decline was attributed to an increasing number of police personnel and the use of security cameras, among other factors, the agency said.
While serious offenses such as murder, robbery and sexual assault marked the lowest level in five years at 10,889 cases, crimes committed through the use of social networking sites saw a marked increase, the agency said.
Cases of online fraud were nearly four times higher in 2017 compared to figures in 2013, the police agency said, warning the public against the dangers of online communication, including making non-face-to-face private financial transactions.
The agency also noted that abduction and kidnapping cases through the use of social networking services had spiked to 239 recorded cases in 2017.
Burglaries and other theft-related crimes hit a record low of 655,541 cases, dropping 33 percent on year in the recording period and marking the fifth year of decline, the agency said, with this type of crime accounting for 70 percent of Japan's total.
Cases of rape, which since last July legally include male victims, increased by 122 to 1, 111 cases in 2017.
The overall number of recorded criminal cases has been on the decline since peaking in 2002 at 2.85 million, the police agency said.