Friday, March 30, 2007

No crime too small in Tokyo

In Tokyo, it pays to install a night light on your bicycle and to lock it when you're not using it. One of the best pieces I've read all week! From LA Times:
Having moved to Tokyo from London, where your cellphone wasn't safe in your pocket, I found this amazing. After a short time in a low-crime society, old habits changed. I would leave my briefcase unattended on a train, for example. And I stopped locking my bike.

I left it unclamped outside stores and restaurants, the lock wrapped uselessly around the bar under my seat. I'd leave it out all night in the driveway, unchained. One summer vacation, I left all four family bikes sitting unlocked in the driveway for three weeks.

So I was more embarrassed than angry when I went back to get my bike that Sunday morning and found it gone.

No kidding, I hear you saying. But I was so surprised I thought the ever-efficient Tokyo bicycle attendants might have impounded it for not being parked in a designated bicycle rack. Tokyo is awash in bikes, and despite long rows of parking stands at every station, there are never enough spaces.

I was still contemplating a visit to the impounded bike lot a day later when an officer from a neighboring ward office of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police called me at home.

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