You need to be careful of snatching, but not mugging, perhaps.

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Jun 24, 2011 15:58 judicature 司法
I learned people outside Japan are unlikely to use “purse snatching” and “mugging” differently. In Japan, street mugging is extremely rare, but street snatching often happens.

A typical snatching (ひったくり) is that when a person rides a bicycle with his bag in the front basket, a snatcher (often with a minibike) passes a victim from behind (or passes each other), reaches out his hand, takes the bag and runs away. He often takes, by force, a bag that a victim has in the hand or on the shoulder, but he never punches a victim’s face or head. If he beats the victim, it is simply mugging; not snatching.

In Japan, both are quite different crimes. Snatching is one of the thefts (窃盗). Mugging is one of the robberies (強盗). Of course, extremely different penalties are applied to each.

Name, min, max penalty
Thieves (窃盗), 1 month, 10 years’ penal servitude
Robberies (強盗), 1 month, 20 years

What’s more, robberies are easy to become robbery-injury (強盗致傷, 強盗傷人) and robbery-murder (強盗致死, 強盗殺人).
Robbery-injury (強盗致傷, 強盗傷人), 6 years, life imprisonment with work
Robbery-murder (強盗致死, 強盗殺人), life imprisonment with work, death penalty

I guess criminals in Japan are care that they do not commit mugging, but rather snatching. Snatching needs a skill of some degree, compared to mugging. Therefore, street criminals in Japan are more skillful than ones in the US.

However, Japanese police consider snatching is less skilled crimes. Street criminals used often to commit extortion. It needs the art of narration to talk with a victim. If he is silent, he cannot pull money from a victim. Instead, snatching does not need such skill.

See also:
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/947438/ (The number of murders is decreasing year by year.)
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/984964/ (Nagoya is at the highest in snatching.)