Sydney is considered to be one of the world’s safest cities. Earlier this year, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Safe Cities Index named the Harbour City as the fifth safest city in the world in terms of overall safety. It was ranked against 60 other major urban areas, including Melbourne which came 10th place.
So where are the safest neighbourhoods in Sydney specifically? After analysing data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), Canstar has identified the top 10 suburbs in Sydney with the lowest crime rates by population. We also asked an insurer for its perspective on how crime rates can affect the cost of home insurance.
What are the safest suburbs in Sydney?
The 10 Sydney suburbs with the lowest crime rates were:
- Pleasure Point: 0.76 incidents per 100 residents
- Westleigh: 0.83 incidents per 100 residents
- Gymea Bay: 0.94 incidents per 100 residents
- St Ives Chase: 1.01 incidents per 100 residents
- Bonnet Bay: 1.02 incidents per 100 residents
- Wareemba: 1.03 incidents per 100 residents
- North Epping: 1.08 incidents per 100 residents
- Willoughby East: 1.10 incidents per 100 residents
- East Killara: 1.11 incidents per 100 residents
- Chatswood West: 1.13 incidents per 100 residents
These suburbs had the lowest rates of recorded criminal offences from January 2018 to December 2018, based on Canstar’s analysis of BOCSAR data. Criminal offences included murder, assault, robbery, theft, drug offences and other recorded offences. This was weighed against the number of residents in each suburb, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
According to Canstar’s analysis, south-west suburb Pleasure Point had the lowest rate of recorded criminal incidents by population. It’s low rate could be attributed to the fact that Pleasure Point is a small suburb with no cafes, shops or schools, according to Domain. It has a recorded population of 528 people and had only four recorded incidents during the period analysed.
Looking a bit closer to the city centre, other low-crime suburbs identified included Wareemba, Willoughby East and Chatswood West. These are all relatively low-density suburbs with populations of under 2,000 people, according to ABS data.
What Sydney suburbs have the highest crime rates?
Canstar has also identified the suburbs in greater Sydney with the highest number of recorded criminal offences, based on BOCSAR data. The 10 suburbs with the highest crime rates were:
- Sydenham: 128.30 incidents per 100 residents
- Haymarket: 108.04 incidents per 100 residents
- The Rocks: 93.02 incidents per 100 residents
- Windsor: 81.17 incidents per 100 residents
- Sydney City: 65.88 incidents per 100 residents
- Penrith: 63.82 incidents per 100 residents
- Campbelltown: 63.62 incidents per 100 residents
- Eastgardens: 63.26 incidents per 100 residents
- Mount Druitt: 54.69 incidents per 100 residents
- St Marys: 51.55 incidents per 100 residents
Sydenham was found to have the highest crime rate by population. Located in Sydney’s Inner West near both Marrickville and the airport, Sydenham has a recorded population of 1,145 people and had 1,469 reported incidents during the period examined.
High crime rates for areas such as Sydney City, The Rocks and Haymarket, could perhaps be explained by their central locations. These suburbs are in the city centre of Sydney and are typically buzzing with tourists and locals alike.
What Sydney suburbs have the most home insurance claims?
Looking to household crime, analysis from insurer Guild Insurance, a niche insurer in the personal home insurance market, reveals the areas of Sydney with the highest number of home burglary and theft claims from July 2002 to September 2019. According to Guild Insurance’s data, the five suburbs with the highest burglary and theft claims over this time were Erskine Park, Narwee, Malabar, Westmead and Centennial Park. In terms of overall crime, Canstar’s analysis found that these areas all also had relatively low crime rates by population.
How can a suburb’s ‘safety’ affect the cost of home and contents insurance?
In addition to potential safety concerns, living in a high-crime neighbourhood may also hurt your hip pocket. According to Guild Insurance, if an area is statistically shown to be prone to more crime or house damage, this can affect how much it costs an insurer to provide home and contents insurance, which in turn may result in higher premiums for customers in these areas.
However, Guild Insurance says this is only one aspect of how it calculates premiums and other factors, such as whether your suburb is susceptible to natural disasters such as floods and bushfires, are typically more important in determining cost.
If you live in a high-crime area, one way you may be able to reduce premiums is to install additional security measures. Security features, such as deadlocks and monitored alarms, could reduce the risk of crime-related claims and would generally be reflected in a lower insurance premium, Guild Insurance told Canstar.
Note: Top 10 lists above are based on Sydney suburbs (as defined in Domain’s 2016 Suburb Liveability ratings) with the lowest or highest combined total of recorded incidents (via NSW BOCSAR) per 100 residents during the year Jan-Dec 2018. Number of residents per ABS 2016 Census Quick Stats.
Main image source: Taras Vyshnya (Shutterstock)
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