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The Rise of the Elderly Criminal

Updated on July 21, 2013

Investment planners always warn those in their 20's-40's about not making the correct decisions regarding their investments, assuming they are in a position to do that. Not everyone earns $4-6,000 a month, which allows for extra money to invest for the future. Many earn just enough to get by each month.

Time flies. We have all heard this in our lives. When you are in your 20's, you shrug it off and then suddenly, you are 40, and what have you done? Huh, just live, started a family, go to the lake, vacations, taxes, buy a home. It is a lot but your investments are nil. Now, you hear it again, time flies. You get serious about investments, setting aside what you can. Suddenly, you are 60. Where has your life gone? Time flies. Now you realize your investments for the "golden years" are minimum.They will no sustain you through the non-earning years, which could be another 15 before the end is final. It IS too late to make a difference now.

Now, subtle forms of age discrimination enter as you seek even the most low level service jobs earning a $10 hr. job to get by. Your boss could be your son or daughter. Despite all the wonderful stories about finding a "second career", you need money to get there until it does pay off, and that is something you do not have in excess. Failing stops your attempts. For example, many try to get into real estate as a second career. The school costs $1000 or so, the license is $300+. Now, finally, you can try to find a RE company to work for, commission based. Some will take you only if you have listings. As all this time goes by, you still pay for the monthly bills, as if you were earning money but are not. Most RE veterans tell you to have at least enough money to last six months of no sales, maybe longer.

Enter the criminal who is elderly, say anywhere from 60 years and older. These are people who either never earned much money or did earn a lot of money but did not invest wisely or much at all.

In Japan, elderly crime has doubled and shoplifters are more likely to be 60+ than an teenager. With welfare being cut, 4.50 million elderly Japanese will be retiring. By 2035, 30% of the Japanese population will be on pensions. Welfare cuts, inflation, have more elderly persons turning to crime, usually petty crime. Out of the 46,000 criminal cases filed there, 60% were for shoplifting. Japan's welfare is $1 trillion a year and half of that is on medical costs. In England, police in Avon and Somerset arrested 200 men and 23 women aged over 70 for 62 offenses in the last two years. A 99-year old was arrested for burglary.

As the elderly population's assets dwindle, survival mode kicks in and many turn to stealing to cut costs. Over 27,000 elderly were arrested for shoplifting compared to 19,000 that were under 18. In Japan, over 6 million elderly live alone. The elderly steal all sorts of food to get by as their support systems fail them. One 72 year old man was got stealing, went to jail. When he was released, he had 20,000 yen and alone. He rents a room with a rotting floor. His bed barely fits into the room. There is no bathroom and he pays 200 yen to shower. He works at a minimum wage job and gets welfare.

Another man, age 67, worked all his life until issues stopped him. He never broke the law but when his savings dried up so did his safety net. He tried various means to support him until he just didn't care anymore. This was in 2008, when he tried to rob a drunk person. He got a suspended sentence and that same year was caught stealing a rice bowl with pork from a grocery store. This time, he went to jail for two years. When he got out, he survived until he once again, had enough. In 2011, he stole hot dog buns and fired noodles. He is now in a halfway house and involved in programs. But, he is not a criminal but of the society he is in. What will the program offer him at age 67? More welfare so he will not have to turn to stealing to supplement? A job for self respect? Training? What employer really wants to employ someone that old? Maybe, if the wage is subsidized, but if not, he will not find work.

No golden years for him. That is a myth for him and millions of others in all parts of the world.

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    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 

      5 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      That is just sad, no one should have to commit crimes to live. I know that in the U.S., the politicians are getting richer while making policy that keep the working poor, poor. It is sinful.

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