More Destitute Elderly Turn to Crime

      October 06, 2021 12:17

      As Korean society ages, so do its criminals. Theft committed by senior citizens is on the rise as more as more people over 60 are being pushed to the edge by lockdown restrictions that cripple their modest livelihoods.

      According to National Police Agency data, theft committed by people over 60 surged 65 percent from 2016 to 2020, even as the overall rate dwindled in most other age groups due to more CCTV cameras and other safeguards. Overall theft was down 12 percent over the period.

      "Most of it is shoplifting of daily necessities or stealing bicycles," a police officer said.

      Elderly people wait for a free meal in a park in Daegu on Tuesday. /Newsis

      But senior citizens are also increasingly becoming targets of crime. According to the NPA data, the number of elderly crime victims surged 21 percent during the same period.

      Kim Beom-joong at Chungang University said, "The poverty rate among senior citizens is high and the coronavirus pandemic has caused available jobs to decrease as well, causing more and more elderly people to commit petty crimes to make ends meet."

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