January 6, 2014

One great thing about living in South Korea is the low crime rate.

The one crime people seem to have to worry about the least here is theft.

When I was in Gangnam, I saw a motorcycle on the side of the street that was running with the key left in the ignition. The owner was clearly not around. I watched dozens of people walk past it without giving it so much as a second look. Had this happened almost anywhere else, that bike would have had a new owner in a minute.

One time I forgot my key in my apartment door overnight. Anybody could have seen the key in the door, entered my apartment, and taken anything. I don’t think it’s just luck that nobody noticed my mistake and took advantage of it. Most places in the world, I would have been robbed.

A music academy placed two used pianos on the sidewalk with price stickers on them for 10,000 Won ($10) each. They trusted that someone would not just take one in the middle of the night when nobody was looking. They sat there for two days. Then I discovered one of those pianos left at the dumpsters behind my apartment building. Theft is so rare that nobody will even take a free piano.

Here are the main reasons I believe it wasn’t taken.

  1. Koreans live with their families in tall narrow apartment buildings; not in houses. Therefore, they’d have no room for a piano.
  2. A piano is too heavy to move alone. You’d need to hire someone to move it.
  3. This particular piano happened to be out of tune, and tuning a piano is not as easy as tuning a guitar.