The overall crime threat in Taiwan is low, with the majority of crime, like many large cities, occurring in downtown Taipei and other metropolitan areas. Pickpockets can be an issue in night markets. However, generally speaking, Taiwan is a very safe place to live and visit. Violent crime is very rare. The streets of big cities are pretty safe, day or night.
Having said that, there are levels of crime in higher risk locations, such as streets with massage parlours and nightclubs that are covers for prostitution, and these areas also tend to be the focus for criminal gangs. Most crimes are centred in such areas of Taipei, or other large cities. Use your common sense. Suburbs and smaller towns are considered very safe.
Crime reports for the year 2008 revealed a significant increase in incidents of intimidation/extortion when compared to 2007. All other crime rates registered decreases, with violent crimes registering a decrease of 14%. While Taiwan has a significant law enforcement presence, travellers should exercise caution and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded areas like night markets and while travelling on public transportation. As a gauge, visitors should take precautions similar to that of any major metropolitan city in the West, using a common sense approach to travel around Taiwan.
Like anywhere else in the world, women should be cautious when taking taxis alone late at night. Although they are generally safe, it's a good idea to arrange to have a friend call you when you get home and to be seen making the arrangements for this by the cab driver. It also helps if a friend sees you being picked up as taxis have visible license numbers. As an additional safety precaution, tell taxi drivers just the street name and section instead of your exact address.
Taiwan's police force is well trained, professional and helpful towards foreigners. The general evaluation of police support and response to foreigners who are victims of crime is considered very good. The police are professionally trained. The National Police Agency maintains a Foreign Affairs Police division that is responsible for all foreigners travelling or residing in Taiwan. There are numerous police sub-stations strategically located throughout the various districts and communities of Taiwan. All have a Foreign Affairs Police officer assigned to aid foreigners and assist with law enforcement matters. However, only a limited number of these officers are fluent in English.