'Opportunity Crime' rates in Taiwan?

I’m very curious about other people’s opinions on this issue.

Every year, when I return to Canada for a vacation with my family, I get the sense that most Canadian cities are absolutely stricken with crimes of opportunity: specifically, thefts.

Reports of car break-ins, smash and grabs and backyard property thefts seem like the norm.

It makes sense that medium sized cities in Canada are particularly susceptible to these kinds of crimes. Houses and businesses are spaced widely apart, there are a lack of surveillance cameras in parking lots and on streets and people generally do not have surveillance cameras on their property.

I see tons of videos on youtube from the US and Canada where people are stealing UPS packages from other people’s front steps, porches and even out of mailboxes in broad daylight.

In places like Victoria and Vancouver, I seem to hear story after story of people having lawn furniture being stolen right out of backyards.

And of course…there’s the massive problem of bicycle theft in almost every city in the US and Canada.

Garage break-ins, house break-ins, even people who live in good areas are affected.

I’m wondering…does Taiwan have the same issues?

I’ve lived here a long time and I just don’t feel like Taiwanese cities have this kind of crime.

I would expect that Taiwan would more general surveillance compared to cities in the US and Canada -both in the form of actual people observing most of what goes on in the street and also in the form of sophisticated video cameras positioned almost everywhere.

I might also imagine that Taiwan has far less people addicted to heroin and crack compared to the US and Canada so there not as many small-time criminals trying to steal things to sell.

Am I right or just imagining this?

Does Taiwan experience less ‘Crime of Opportunity’ compared to the US and Canada?

Thanks for any of your ideas

Yes I think Taiwan robs us of opportunities.

I would retitle that as Opportunistic Theft rate in Taiwan. Due to my superpowers I can do this for you if you like .


That kind of theft is rare here. I’ve personally never experienced it after 6 yrs and never heard of friends/family experiencing it. My wife dropped her wallet at family mart and when we went back it was behind the counter.

Bicycles tend to get stolen if left unmoved for a while. Don’t ever leave an expensive bike out of sight.

My former co-worker had his car stolen when he left it parked on the street for three weeks.

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A nice bike will definitely get stolen if left outside.
I’ve dropped a mobile phone and it was robbed on a bus.
My wife dropped her wallet , the cash was removed but wallet left. Bunch of other stuff left in restaurants mostly still there when went back.

I think the big difference is there are less junkies in Taiwan and there is lower tolerance for this kind of crime, you will spend time in jail.


I’ve heard of people leaving their phones and wallets all over the place, including in taxis and in restaurants dozens and dozens of times and they always seem to get them back.

My friend dropped an envelope with like 50,000nt in it (with a pay stub) from his bicycle and the guy behind him driving a scooter picked it up, took it to a police station and turned it in. It was on the news.

These kinds of stories seem to be the norm here.

In the West, I hear mostly stories of people getting robbed.

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To be fair most people in the West are great as well. There is just a bigger underclass and a lot more desperate drug addicts, illegal migrants and marginalised ethnic groups.

Are we right to assume that there are less intravenous drug users here in Taiwan or is it just that we don’t see it? I’ve lived here for 18 years and I’ve never seen any evidence of anyone using heroin. I keep thinking that maybe I’m just not aware of it somehow.

Seems like there could be a lot less, certainly way less obvious. K and Meth seem to be the most abused substances.

It’s also more difficult to rob stuff in the cities here . A lot of apartment blocks have security, you can’t just go around knocking on doors checking places out. Everywhere is covered with security cameras.

In the countryside anything valuable that is not nailed down could be robbed, fruit, betelnut, watermelons , trees, even animals …they will steal them all!

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Robbery crimes are low compared to most places, since the migrants started coming my girl said her houses In Italy got robbed multiple times and stole a lot of stuff like gold and silver. They even camped out and there was evidence of a camps with beers and stuff where they scouted the place and their schedule. They had to get private security now. And they know who did it but the immigrant community protects them so.

And when I was there in one of her houses in the north I was staying at had people try to rob us in the middle of the night.


Vancouver certainly used to be a nightmare for this kind of thing.
The conventional wisdom was always that the mild climate attracted tons of junkies.
I had friends back in the 90s who lived in Metro Van who literally went through like 3 car stereos a year.

As for here, as my first ever roommate told me shortly after I arrived, “People in Taiwan don’t steal small stuff”.
Certainly seems to be the case.

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Maybe I’ve just been lucky (while simultaneously careless) but I’ve left my keys in my brand new scooter a couple of times and it was left untouched. My friend (careless as can be) had lost keys, wallets, healthcare cards, etc. several times. They were returned every time (either by post or by drop off at the local cop shop).

I’ve heard warnings around Chinese New Year about pick pockets, but it doesn’t influence me very much, since I carry my wallet in my front pocket (a very very old habit).

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I think the ubiquitous cameras keep people honest, who would otherwise not be.
The fear of ending up on the news is a good deterrent


It was ever so, even back when there were no cameras.

I defer to you. You’ve been here much longer than I :slight_smile:

That same roommate did, however caution me to make sure and take my bag with me the first time we went drinking in Shita.
I asked him why and he said “Lots of foreigners here”


Speaking of which, what’s with the obscured pictures of potential thieves next to ATM machines? A deterrent, a warning, a most wanted poster? It seems futile. Anyone have any feedback?

As a former Victorian who owned a house in Saanich, these crimes are due to the number of homeless people/addicts near the City Centre. Because of the warm weather, homeless from across Canada set up shop. The downtown smells like urine and needles are often found in parks and parking lots.

Taiwan does not have that addiction/junkie problem to the extent that Western Canada does.

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Well my camera disappeared once and it never turned up although I don’t know if it was stolen or fell down a hole.
In the uni cafeteria students leave their bags on chairs to reserve a spot; back home your backpack could get snatched from under your feet if you weren’t paying attention to it. No one locks up their bike on campus whereas at home people come around with bolt cutters.