Always Something New

  • Macy McLaughlin

Crime in South Korea

Crime rates in Korea are notoriously low. I have found that I have let my guard down significantly since moving from the United States to South Korea. While there may be many contributing factors for this, I believe it has a lot to do with Korean culture as a whole. I have noticed that Koreans generally have a high value for honor. Getting in trouble is very much embarrassing for them, and they will usually avoid it at all costs. I have recognized this with my students as well. Risking bad behavior in return for the embarrassment of public punishment is not something that most of the children will do.

For example, a common punishment in my school is when a child misbehaves (ex. is caught cheating on a test), their Korean teacher will make them stand in a classroom full of students younger than them with their hands above their head. Getting in trouble in front of younger children is very embarrassing to them, and that is why the Korean teachers will use this tactic as a punishment.

When I lived in the United States, I would never be caught walking alone at night (or even during the day sometimes) without pepper spray. There were constantly alerts on my phone warning me about crime incidents happening just blocks away from me. In college, if I ever was walking home from the library alone at night, I would call my mom to talk to me while I walked because of how scared I was by myself.

Now that I’m in Korea, it seems like I’ve almost forgotten what this feeling was like. I have not once felt threatened, or scared when I walk home from work alone at night.

This is not to say that crime doesn’t exist, because I’m sure it does. And I’m sure it is more common in touristy areas of big cities such as Busan or Seoul, which I am not as familiar with.

It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings in unfamiliar places, but it's refreshing to live in an area where I’m not in constant fear of crime.

Here is a link to another article I found about safety in Korea:




Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.


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