April 02, 2013 12:39
The most dangerous places for women at night are streets leading from commercial or nightlife districts to residential areas, criminologists warn. Last year, a large proportion of sex crimes took place in residential areas close to such districts.
Seoul had the most cases of sexual assault and harassment with 61.4 incidents per 100,000 people. That was 1.4 times the nationwide average and three times the rate in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, which had the lowest incidence with of 21.5 cases.
Experts attributed the high rate in the capital to hazy distinction between residential districts and areas with bars and clubs. "In a city like Seoul, sex offenders often wander around the nightlife districts looking for their targets and follow them home," said Kim Ji-young of the Korean Institute of Criminology.
Offenders mostly target women who live alone, sneaking into the victims' homes through an unlocked window or door, or simply following them into apartment buildings. Most of the crimes occurred in areas with many studio apartments close to nightlife districts.
According to a 2010 study by the institute of 245 sex crimes, 63.6 percent took place in residential areas.
Prof. Kwak Dae-kyung at Dongguk University said, "Many residential areas in big cities are close to nightlife districts and thus exposed to a high risk of sex crimes, but there are insufficient mechanisms to protect women."
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