New Taipei City covers a very large geographical area. From a policing point of view, it is divided into 16 precincts, each of which has different policing requirements due to the varying demographics and geographic attributes of each area. Yesterday we visited two distinctly different precincts, one in Xinzhuang and the other in Danshui. Thank you to both precincts for the warm welcome, interesting presentations, refreshments and the tour guiding!
A little about each to give you an idea of some of the differences.
Danshui is a historical town with 400 years of history. Population is 174,914. It is a major tourist town with 16 million tourists visiting each year. Tourist attractions include Fort San Domingo Fort, Danshui Church, Huwei Mackay Hospital, Finsherman’s Wharf and many temples. Danshui has very little crime – mainly petty theft and small burglaries. The major issue is traffic – particularly in the high tourist season. There is only one major road out of Danshui but future road and MTR (metro) are planned. This precinct has one officer for approximately every 500 residents. The mountain across the river features in the film, Life of Pi.
The precinct here covers three major districts – Xinshuang, Taishan, and Linkou. Population is 575,223. It is the largest precinct in Taiwan. The area attracts a lot more migrants (mainly from Southern Taiwan) due to many small factories in the area. With a more diverse population, the police work covers residential burglary, vehicle theft, larceny and purse snatching. They are very dependent on the surveillance system to apprehend criminals – over 2,671 cameras are in place and this system has allowed them to resolve over 30% of their cases. This precinct has significant workload and is short staffed with one police officer covering approximately 800 residents. The nearby temple, Dachong temple, housed the God of Police and sometimes the citizens and the police come and pray for some help with their cases.
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