Today I nipped into Homeplus (a big supermarket chain here) and locked my bike up and met my friend for some ice cream and shopping. After wrapping up my chores I rummaged through my pockets for my key and couldn't find it. I thought basically that I wouldn't be able to unlock my bike and it would be stuck there until staff shifted it. Then I looked at my bike and the bike lock. I'd left my key in the lock and it was still there. Perhaps nobody had seen the key but my bike wasn't stolen and I was quite surprised.
Four plus years here and I am still pleased about how safe and secure day to day life is here, and this is coming from someone who has been burgled here a few years back. It so much safer and calmer than back home in England and has none of the aggression that in engulfing life in the UK. It has to be experienced to be believed. I never feel unsafe even when I am walking the streets at whatever hour of the night it may be.
This week some of my classes involved questions about safety and I quizzed them on whether or not they think Korea is a safe country for people leading ordinary day to day lives. Everyone responded by saying they thought Korea wasn't safe but couldn't tell me why. They don't know how wrong they are and would be shocked if they lived outside or their bubble.
I have seen various examples that illustrate that crime is not such a big issue here including people leaving their car to nip into a shop but leaving their engine on. Does that mean that people are more trustworthy or honest here? I'm not sure about that but the culture and society are different. Of course there is the elephant in the room that is North Korea and whatever may or may not happen but in general I feel safe or have ever felt in any danger here, one of the many positives about coming to live and work in South Korea.