"Super crime non-prevention" system of the Tokyo police
Police losing patience over super alarm that cries wolf
The Asahi Shimbun, July 28, 2004
Pranksters are the biggest users of the crime-alert system. The score is in for the high-priced "super crime-prevention" system of the Tokyo police: one arrest, 867 false alarms....
The system consists of a loud buzzer and flashing red lights atop street-corner posts that kick in at the touch of a button. The button is easily reached on the posts. Surveillance cameras atop the posts also record nearby scenes around the clock. A person sounding the alarm can talk to an officer at a nearby police station via an intercom and monitor.
The system costs around 100 million yen ($910,084.00 USD) per unit
, and since March 2002, the Metropolitan Police Department has had 94 alarm systems installed in seven districts around Tokyo.
....senior officers also point out that people are now too used to contacting police on their mobile phones. They also say the images recorded by the alarm system are not of good enough quality to aid in investigations.
........Pranksters crying wolf may not always be behind the false alarms, according to a 53-year-old clerk at a nearby shop. "I often see non-Japanese pedestrians waiting for the traffic light to change,'' she said. "Some press the button mistaking it for the traffic light button. Is it really helpful?