Is Australia a Safe Place to Live?

I’m often asked this question, and it’s usually attached to a city. For example, is Melbourne a safe city to live in? Or, is Sydney a safe place to live?

My answer is always pretty much the same, Australia generally speaking as a country is regarded as safe. Obviously, like any country, we do have crime here and we have crooks…

BurglaryBy and large though, it’s a safe place.

Not a very scientific answer is it? In fact without anything to back it up, it’s simply my opinion. Thanks to recently stumbling across a report that was released much earlier this year, I can now give you an answer with a little more substance.

The Safe Cities Index 2015

This is another report from the people at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) who I have featured many times before, particularly with their ‘Livability’ reports. The last time I mentioned them, I think, was in my post called The World’s Top Five Most Liveable Countries 2014.

This report though looks at safety in 50 different cities around the world. Of those 50 cities, only two are in Australia, that’s Sydney and Melbourne. In the UK they only looked at one city; London, of course. There were five cities featured from the US, I decided to use the largest of them, New York.

So, let’s do a comparison.

Sydney and Melbourne versus London and New York

We are going to look at and compare how these four cities performed in the four categories of this report and then end up with a combined overall index.

virusCategory 1 – Digital security

We do live in a digital world, and in this category factors such as the frequency of identity theft and the dedicated cyber security teams put in place to prevent them were looked at for each city. Here are the results:

  • Of the four cities we are looking at, New York did the best, they were 3rd
  • Sydney were 14th
  • London in 16th
  • Melbourne were 20th

The most digitally secure city in the world? Tokyo.
The least digitally secure? Tehran.

healthCategory 2 – Health security

This category looked at factors such as the number of hospital beds available compared with the population and also life expectancy. Here are the results:

  • New York, again, did the best, coming 2nd
  • Melbourne were 14th
  • Sydney were 17th
  • London a lowly 22nd

Best city for health security? Zurich
Worst city for health security? Mumbai

roadsCategory 3 – Infrastructure safety

Factors such as the quality of roads and deaths from natural disasters were looked at in this category, here are the results:

  • Melbourne were in 2nd place
  • Sydney were in 3rd
  • New York the 16th
  • London were an even lower 25th

Best city for infrastructure safety? Zurich takes it again.
Worst is Ho Chi Minh City.

punchCategory 4 – Personal safety

This category looked at the levels of crime and illegal activity, police engagement and the prevalence of violent crime, here are the results:

  • Melbourne were in 8th position
  • Sydney were in 10th
  • London in 12th
  • New York a very poor 28th

Best city for personal safety? No prizes for guessing Singapore.
Worst city? Stay away from Santiago.

Now a quick bonus section.

Where is the best place to live?

The report acknowledges that this is very much down to personal choice and what each individual regards as important and less important about a city. They still manage to rank all cities though, by combining six of their reports including that livability survey, a cost of living survey, and reports on business environment, democracy and food security as well is this one on safety.

Here are the results:

  • Melbourne came top of our group in 6th place
  • Sydney were next, they came 9th
  • New York were in 13th place
  • London 22nd place again

Toronto, for those who need to know, came top.

The overall index

Finally, the overall index. By combining all reports and throwing in a little bit of life expectancy into the mix, the EIU came up with a final table. Here are the results:

  • Sydney topped our band of four, coming 6th
  • Melbourne were not far behind, they came 9th
  • Hot on their heels was New York in 10th
  • London ended up in 18th

Top of this chart was Tokyo.
Down at the very bottom, Jakarta.

I will leave you all to draw your own conclusions, but I think we can all agree on this. My totally unscientific answer stating that Australia is pretty safe isn’t far off the mark.

You can read online or download the full report, and there is so much more in it, by visiting this page: The Safe Cities Index 2015

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • chuk February 19, 2017, 9:08 am | Link

    EIU . Youve got to be kidding if you take that finding serious.
    Ive lived in Spain , South Korea and Japan and can tell you all those three countries are much safer than Australia.
    I like how Barcelona comes out on top of Madrid which doesnt even appear on the list.
    Ive lived in both cities and can tell you that the only city in that country that does have a problem mainly with pick pocketing by gipsy groups is Barcelona.
    Madrid is much safer. Any Spaniard would laugh at you otherwise.
    I would put Australia in the middle concerning safety compared to other countries. I would say its safer than England or the USA.
    But I have lived in safer countries.
    I especially notice it at night. When you have alot of idiots that are drunk and become violent
    Didnt see a single fight in Spain, Japan or South Korea. And I lived there for 6 , 2 and 3 years respectively.

    • BobinOz February 19, 2017, 9:23 pm | Link

      I was in Tokyo myself last year, without doubt the safest feeling city I’ve ever been in.

  • Jaye December 28, 2016, 11:51 am | Link

    What about snakes and spiders in Melbourne homes, or apartments. I hear a lot of people get killed by snakes in the city is this true

    • Mark December 28, 2016, 12:05 pm | Link

      Im sure I read on this site about snakes deaths but cant find it now but I imagine Bob will be along to correct it but whoever told you that Jaye was being a little over exaggerating Horses are the creatures most likely to cause a human death, statistics compiled by the National Coroners Information System show. Cows are the next most dangerous, followed by dogs. Sharks are in fourth position, while crocodiles and spiders account for only slightly more deaths than emus, cats and fish.

    • Louise January 26, 2017, 12:48 pm | Link

      That is hilarious 🙂

  • Kind Godwin November 11, 2016, 7:47 pm | Link

    I would like to know about the cases of natural disasters. I love Australia as a country and i am planning to come and work, study there but i hear severe cases of water from the seas and oceans overflowing the residential areas and thus, taking lots of lives seasonally. Please, enlighten me about this and please let me know all the affected locations…Cities, states/provinces etc……….

    Please, I will highly appreciate your swift response.

    Kind Godwin.

    • BobinOz November 12, 2016, 12:27 am | Link

      Well, I don’t know where you get the ‘taking lots of lives seasonally’ from Kind, that just doesn’t happen. Australia is actually a very safe place and even when we do have a natural disaster, and we do sometimes, it is fortunately rare that people lose their lives.

      We get cyclones, we get bushfires, we get floods. Occasionally we get earthquakes, but so far they’ve all been quite small. I think there is a Wikipedia page that lists all of Australia’s natural disasters, you should Google it.

      But for sure, we do not have any kind of regular event that ends up with lots of lives being taken.

      I hope this response is swift enough for you 🙂

      Cheers Bob

      • Kind Godwin November 12, 2016, 1:20 am | Link

        Awww beautiful. I love Sydney and Melbourne and hope these disasters are at a zero level there.

        I thank you very much for the comprehensive update. You rock. I equally ignored USA because of the gangster life style there and wouldn’t want to raise kids in such environment.

        I hope I get a manageable job when I hit the country soonest. Thanks a million.

        K. Godwin.

        • BobinOz November 13, 2016, 11:59 pm | Link

          Ha ha, yes, ignoring the US is definitely the right thing to do 🙂

  • Paul Martin July 17, 2016, 8:05 pm | Link

    I am an Australian resident since 54, my sons are Aussies. I keep a close tab on Asia Pacific and have lived between Japan and HK for the past 8 years. The lates info I have from Australian visitors to Japan is things have gotten much worse especially violent assaults,etc. home invasions, biker wars, cost of living. There has been considerable racist problems but not all from the white community. There are muslim and indian gangs who commit many crimes including rape, robberies,etc. I spent 25 years in the US never had a problem there because there are cops everywhere and they are well trained and serve and protect UNLIKE the mega corrupt Aussie ones !

    Foreign correspondent Asia Pacific
    Radio dj SHOCKJOCK

    • BobinOz July 18, 2016, 3:49 pm | Link

      Well, I can see why you are a shockjock, I suspect you make a habit of visiting other websites and posting ridiculous comments.

      The day the Australian police start acting in the same trigger-happy as the US police force, that will be the day I move back to the UK. If you really want to know what’s going on in Australia at the moment, then maybe you should move back to find out first hand instead of listening to people who visit Japan.

  • Mehul July 16, 2016, 4:56 pm | Link

    Hi, very good informative Blog, i am indian and planning to move to Australia on PR visa
    I have few questions
    How are Indians looked upon by Australians, do they face racism, are Indians treated equally for Jobs. do indian kids face racism and bullying in school

  • unjee May 3, 2016, 9:40 pm | Link

    This is an awesome blog! I have been contemplating about our move to Australia and doing all kinds of research for that. I’m from India and will be coming either on business owners visa or niche skilled visa.
    I have lived in the USA (various cities) for about 2 decades, then lived in Europe a bit and few years in India.
    We could easily move back to the USA but the gun situation there really makes me nervous. Me and hubby have 2 kids (13, 8)
    Can you all please tell me how it will be in Australia (Sydney/ Melbourne) for an Indian family (yes brown skinned 🙂 but certainly not hardcore ‘curry people’)… we are very outdoor type, down to earth family. Love to do community service, not very religious, but more spiritual.
    Your inputs will help a lot!!
    Thanks for this awesome blog site!

    • BobinOz May 4, 2016, 11:34 pm | Link

      Thanks, glad you like my blog.

      I think you will be fine in either of those cities, I’m sure it will be very similar to Europe and the USA in terms of you being ‘brown skinned’. Australia is very much a multicultural country, we have plenty of brown skinned people here. I think you will slot in just fine.

      Of course, like every country, we do have a small minority of racists, it’s something that seems to be mandatory. If you want to read my post about it, see…

      Australia is very much a safe country, and with the gun situation, I would choose it all day long over the US. Good luck, where ever you decide to go.

  • Ricky November 30, 2015, 3:40 pm | Link

    i have been living in australia for more than 10 year and i can say that it is safe and beautiful country. cheers

    • BobinOz December 1, 2015, 9:10 pm | Link

      I agree, I’ve been here eight years, feel perfectly safe everywhere I’ve been.

    • ajeesh May 12, 2016, 11:56 am | Link

      hi brother…if you dont mind may i know your contact number?

      • BobinOz May 12, 2016, 8:05 pm | Link

        If you have any questions ajeesh, please feel free to ask them in the comments here.

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