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Australia’s best and worst city suburbs for crime, according to the locals

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 to September 2016.

Australia’s inner city suburbs are becoming safer—it’s in the outer suburbs where more locals say crime is getting worse, a new national suburb-by suburb analysis from Roy Morgan Research shows.

As Roy Morgan’s latest State of the Nation report launched last week showed, 57 percent of Australians (aged 14+) now agree that “crime is a growing problem in my community”. The level of concern about local crime has risen sharply in the past year, after declining from 70 percent 2003 to 53 percent in 2015.

In each greater capital city, the suburb* where the most residents believe crime is getting worse are Dandenong in Melbourne (73 percent agree), Bradbury-Wedderburn in Sydney (69 percent), Redland Islands in Brisbane (74 percent), Elizabeth in Adelaide (67 percent), Montrose-Rosetta in Hobart (71 percent), and  Cooloongup in Perth (81 percent—the most of all suburbs nationally).

Top Five Suburbs where Crime is (and isn’t) a growing problem

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 to September 2016. * Suburbs are as defined in ABS Greater Capital City Areas

Then there are the suburbs where the overwhelming majority of locals feel safe and sound (or at least believe the crime rate is improving). Darlinghurst in inner Sydney is the best suburb nationally: over the period following the NSW Government’s 2014 lockout laws Oxford Street, just one in seven Darlinghurst locals (15 percent) now agree crime is getting worse (with Surry Hills, on the other side of former ‘crime hotspot’ Oxford Street, in second spot with 18 percent).

In other capitals, the suburbs where residents are the least likely to be concerned about local crime are Elwood in Melbourne (35 percent agree), Darra-Sumner in Brisbane (15 per cent), Cottesloe in Perth (34 percent), Adelaide CBD (28 percent), and South Arm in Hobart (33 percent).   

Overall, people who live in greater capital city areas are less concerned about rising crime than those in towns and regional areas (54 percent agree crime is getting worse, compared with 65 percent of country residents).

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has previously reported significantly fewer assaults in areas impacted by the State Government’s controversial lockout laws aimed at curbing alcohol-related violence. Residents of two impacted suburbs, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, confirm these results and overwhelmingly agree that crime is down in their neighbourhood.

“However the local perception of crime doesn’t always match up with official police statistics. BOCSAR’s Crime Mapping Tool shows that the incidence of many offences is steady (and still well below the Darlinghurst rate) in Lakemba and Fairfield, where around two-thirds of locals nevertheless believe it’s getting worse.

“Roy Morgan’s latest State of the Nation report revealed a recent rise in the number of Australians who believe crime is a growing problem—which bucked the long-term downward trend and coincides with more people feeling generally unsafe and becoming more security conscious. 

“It’s this perception of local crime and need for personal security that can affect consumers’ day-to-day behaviours and choices—about how they travel, where and when they do their shopping, their activities and media habits, and how they vote.”  

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%