The police boxes placed all over the cities are not necessarily meant to scare you, or keep constant watch on you. I, as an American, have been conditioned somewhat to be afraid of police officers, and always suspicious that I myself am under suspicion for something. This has caused me to take a greater amount of time warming up to Japanese police. However, these fears were unnecessary, as the police are there to help you, and are ready to be at service for anything the public needs. Civil service at its best.
If you need directions, or have some worry about something or other, don't hesitate to walk up casually to the police boxes and say hello. They will always be very patient, and lend an attentive ear, and a helping hand.