NAHA, Okinawa — Several Okinawan Parent-Teacher Associations have started patrolling their neighborhoods at night after a recent surge in attacks on local youth.

Okinawan police said Tuesday 79 cases of abduction or attempted abduction were reported this year. There are 15 active investigations. No American children have been involved, police said.

Officials at the Nakanomachi Elementary School, near Kadena Air Base Gate 2, said they started patrols in November.

“Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., we patrol our school district to make sure no children are on the street,” said Hiromi Moromisato, Nakanomachi Elementary School PTA chairman.

Children in some schools in Naha were given hand-held crime prevention buzzers and maps which show areas and streets lacking streetlights, according to the Okinawa Times newspaper.

Susumu Yamazato, chairman of Okinawa’s PTA Federation, said adults are the key in protecting children from sexual predators.

“It is the responsibility of each adult member of the community to keep watchful eyes on things going on around children in the community,” he said. “For instance, if a suspicious car is spotted, he must remember the license number and immediately report it to police.”

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