The crime rate is very low in Taiwan compared to other countries with a crime index 15.46 in 2022. This represents the number of index offenses including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft per 1,000 inhabitants. The country with the highest crime index is Venezuela 83.76 and with the lowest 12.13 in Qatar. Factors affecting the crime index include poverty, unemployment, police enforcement and severe sentences.
Crime Statistic in Taiwan
According to the statistics of Criminal Investigation Bureau in 2020, the offenses of public danger accounted for 24.36% of all criminal cases, followed by drugs with 18.58% and theft with 15.21%. The public danger includes arson, destruction of public facilities, hijacking, negligence driving, making explosives, contaminating water or food etc. Regardless of whether these statistics are a true reflection of reality, you should avoid putting yourself at risk of being a victim. Don’t trust strangers, even if they seem friendly. The occurrence of crime is in a state of unequal power, and the offender has stronger physical strength, force or class.
One of the reasons of higher crime rate is poverty. Taiwan’s GDP nominal per capital is USD 33,004 ranked 28th in the world in 2021, which is after South Korea 26th and Japan 23th in Asia. However the annual average salary is only USD 20,992 this year. Among 8.15 million workers in industrial and service profession, only 36% of them receive above the average payment. The total salary is not evenly distributed. Although the unemployment rate had been below 4% in recent years, most of workers didn’t received pay rises and benefit by Taiwan’s rising GDP. Low salary, high working hours and stress, then why is Taiwan’s crime rate so low?
The Truth of Confucianism
Taiwan’s legal system is originating in Civil Law, but it is Confucianism that maintains social order. After the Second World War, Chiang Kai-shek had the political power in Taiwan. At that time, the percentage of primary education had already reached 71% under Japanese rule and most people in China and Taiwan were Han nationality. Therefore, Confucianism was successfully implemented and became the most efficient ruler. School students and laborers generally wear uniforms, further more, the education discouraged independent thinking and suppressed individual freedom in exchange for the interest of groups. Parents and leaders were required to manage their children or subordinates not to speak or act against social expectations. Compared with western countries emphasizing personal development, any unconventional behavior in Taiwan would be strongly questioned by families or public opinion, even it is only a difference in hairstyle or clothing. The absolute authority of the managers and elders cannot be questioned. There are officers from the army in the schools called instructors.
Although the atmosphere has gradually opened up in recent years, and there is no punishment for not wearing a uniform, this kind of conformity has deeply affected Taiwanese society from family and education. Therefore, crimes in public places such as robbery are very rare. Crimes have become underground and the violence or abuse hidden in schools, families or groups. If the offender were teacher, parents or elders with high position of power, the victim usually doesn’t report the case and even the police will not accept the case after being reported.
Is it safe for foreigners to travel in Taiwan? Basically yes, the presence of foreigners in Taiwan is the center of attention and most people will welcome them to show their generosity and hospitality. Low-key behavior can win you goodwill. It would be the same everywhere in the world.