Personal safety

Hello all, this is a question for the women on the forum. do you ever travel alone at night? I’ve heard that it’s highly dangerous for women to go out unaccompanied at night. The reason I ask is that I am planning to live in Taipei for about a year and I would not likely have an activity partner if I wished to venture out at night. I’ve read some terrible things about women being abducted in broad daylight or being raped by taxi drivers…Do you think Taipei is a safe city for women to travel alone?

I can’t speak for the women here, but I can honestly say I feel safer walking the streets of Taipei at night than I ever did walking around back home. And I’m from New Zealand, hardly a crime hotspot.

I think the same rules apply in Taipei as any other big city. Be smart. Don’t walk down back alleys. Don’t ask groups of scooter boys for directions.

Taxis are generally safe. If not, and you think something weird is up, DEMAND to be let out. Carry a cell phone and speed dialing for the English speaking police.

Taipei is safe at night, but like the other posters mentioned, don’t bring trouble on yourself, it’s just common sense. You are safe.

Um, most back alleys in Taiwan are residential areas and therefore a lot safer than the American variety, which are normally commercial/industrial and given over to the lumpenproletariat at night. I’d say that a good chunk of us here in Taipei actually live in “back alleys”. :laughing:

As to the general query, duanpian, the reports you have read are so unrepresentative as to be downright deceptive. The taxi services here are far more sophisticated than they are often given credit for

There are some sick bastards operating taxis here. Couple of tips, maybe other posters will add to the list…

Don’t flag cabs down, call one of the larger cab companies for a cab from your location and only get in that one.

When your cab arrives, remember the licence plate # and call a friend on your cellphone, making it loud and clear that you’re giving them the cab #. If you don’t have anyone to call, fake it.

Avoid the riced out cabs with body kits, a hundred whip aerials, neons or other stupid modifications. Not a great sign of maturity in the driver.

Unless you are really sure what the correct fare should be, don’t get in an argument over what you think is the driver overcharging you. I’ve seen several foreigners badly beaten by gangs of enraged cabbies after an altercation over amounts like a couple of dollars. Not worth it.

Oh, you can buy pepper spray here btw.

Confrontational crimes like muggings and street rapes/abductions are rare in Taiwan, and you generally only get into scary confrontations if you go looking for them. Even pickpocketing is rare here. Taiwan, including Taipei, is safer than wherever you come from, guaranteed. I can’t speak for women, but I feel safe walking alone in alleys in the dead of night here.

That said, these crimes do occasionally happen, and common sense precautions are advised. Hold your purse or bag close to you in crowds dense enough so you can feel others pushing against you. Late at night, call a cab company instead of hailing one. And follow some of the other advice givin in this thread. My wife (Taiwanese) carries a pepper spray can.

There is a pretty high crime rate here, but most of that appears to be corruption, non-confrontational burglaries, business scams, gangland activity and other non-confrontational crimes. Nothing that the average westerner has to worry about unless the place he/she lives is easy to break into.

After many years here, I don’t know any Taiwanese women or men who only call cab companies. They hail them on the street. I’ve never heard, from any friends, either Taiwanese or foreign, incidents of overly aggressive behavior by taxi drivers, unless you count driving like a maniac. Sometimes rude and uncooth, maybe, but that could describe cabbies in any city.

One caveat is I’d be somewhat more cautious when taking a cab late at night (past 12:00 PM or so). And I’d say this goes for women and men.

Taipei is one of the safest big cities you’ll come across, and I don’t think you need to be overly worried. And you certainly DO NOT need to arrange an “activity buddy” when going out at night.

But the pepper spray idea isn’t bad, actually. I doubt you’ll ever use it, but there’s nothing wrong with an ounce of caution. Plus it’s the best defense you can acquire against an assailant. Just about any other weapon is likely to wind up with your getting hurt, not the assailant.