Sydney is the crown jewel of the Australian coast, a booming metropolis that attracts tourists all around the world. There is no denying the appeal and cultural richness of the destination, but how safe it is?
Well, as the most populous and prosperous city in the land down under, it can be a magnet both for tourists and criminals. Like most large cities in the world, Sydney has a darker, sinister side to it. That being said, the capital of New South Wales (NSW) is a relatively safe city that calls for little more than general caution and heedfulness.
The tide is turning
It has not always been so, but major categories of crime are now falling across the state. This does not come as a surprise taking into account that today, Australia is hailed as one of the safest countries in the world. In general, Sydney is no exception and it is considered a pretty safe place.
The progress is particularly impressive NSW, where rates for major offenses feel by 75% in the last 15 years. Only one of 17 major offenses shows an opposite, upward tendency (stealing from a retail store). There are several chief reasons behind this improvement: a reduction in heavy drug use, better overall security, and cheap manufacturing of white goods (which lowers their resell price).
Furthermore, street lighting was improved and closed circuit television installed in many places. The investment in crime prevention is on the rise; the NSW Government champions NSW Community Safety Fund and allows local communities to receive 250,000 grants for projects aimed at preventing crime. They promote highly-effective, early intervention programs such as youth mentoring and education plans.
All in all, communities are encouraged and incentivized to take an active role in fighting and preventing crime. This is one of the trends that contribute to the fact that pickpockets, mugging, scams, terrorism, and risks for women travelers are all ranked low in Sydney.
Problems in heaven
On the other hand, people still fall victim to crime and fear and anxiety surface from time to time. In recent years, there has been a number of gun crimes across major Australian cities, including Sydney.
One such shooting incident took place in 2013 when two bike associates were killed in south-east Sydney. Many people still recall the hostage crisis that occurred the next year, when 17 people were held captive in a café. A similar hostage situation followed in 2016, although with fewer innocents involved. To this day, there were also several other attacks with firearms and bladed weapons that lead to injuries and fatalities.
Traditionally, one of the most problematic spots is Kings Cross, a place that brims with drinking culture and after-hours entertainment. To make it worse, this area is also a backpacker and hostel hub. But, as the media interest grew, the authorities imposed a series of rules like lockouts and last drinks in order to keep the violence in check. As a result, many venues closed their doors and residential buildings now dominate the urban landscape.
This has helped bring down the crime rates in the Sydney’s most assault- and violence-prone area. Tourists, though, are still advised not to wander alone and preferably avoid getting drunk and lost. Even better, they should avoid the problem spot altogether. Another sketchy neighborhood that should be on your steer-clear-off list at night is Redfern.
We covered some of the issues that still plague Sydney, but we must underline that crime is slowly decreasing and losing the battle against the law. Murders are still a rare occurrence and homicide rates are very low by world standards. Also, tourists are highly unlikely to be targeted.
This doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind. On the contrary, try to stay vigilant. Follow news sites reporting on crimes in Australia and utilize services of criminal lawyers to receive valuable advice, assistance, and representation. It also pays off to get a travel insurance quote for Australia. It covers over 150 adventure activities and provides a 24/7 emergency assistance.
Keep your belongings and valuables close to your body at all times. Never leave purses unattended in crowded areas. And if you chose to go to the suburbs, you may face another threat that is not as common outside Australia. Namely, wildlife finds a way to survive on the outskirts of the city, so don’t be surprised if you see a big snake, spider, and the like.
Safe and sound
Sydney is an amazing place to visit and also a fairly-safe tourist destination. The government is doing its job, and local people and services are helpful when navigating the city. Due to the decline in crime rates, Sydneysiders and tourist can sleep easier by night and roam freely during the day.
That being said, visitors should take notice of warnings, risks, and guidelines to stay on the safe side. During the day, main streets are the least risky place to be, while a night out at Kings Cross could be an entirely different ballgame. So, stay observant, follow the safety guidelines, and you should be able to stay out of the harm’s way.