Police photographs drunks sleeping on streets; could face fines
Urasoe City Police is waging a campaign to deter drunk people from sleeping on streets.
According to Urasoe Police, they have started taking photos of drunks found sleeping on the street, then attach the photo as an evidence to a yellow card that they hand over to the sleeping person for the purpose of discouraging such behavior. They say they have taken the step as the year-end and New Year season approaches, and increases people’s chances of drinking excessively.
Police say, in Urasoe district, the number of reported cases of drunk people sleeping on the street between January and November this year was 782, which is the third highest number within Okinawa following Naha and Okinawa City. The number increased by 72 from the same time span of last year, and they note that especially the number of young women in their 20s has increased. Police point out that the sleeping drunk women could also be vulnerable to sex crimes.
Urasoe Police started issuing the yellow cards with pictures to offenders Dec. 12, and more than 20 cards were handed over during the first six days. Police also point out that they have an option to fine the offenders for a violation of the Road Traffic Law with a ticket of up to ¥50,000.
Urasoe Police officials explain, “The purpose of the picture is to alert the drunks to danger. We are conscious about people’s privacy, so we only take pictures without showing their face.” Meanwhile, Officials at the Okinawa Human Rights Association contend, “It’s a human rights violation to take pictures of persons without their permission, even if the person is drunk. That is the problem with this.”