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By Michael Yardney

The 10 Safest Cities to Live in Australia

Australia is renowned for bright sunshine, beautiful beaches, and natural wonders scattered with cosmopolitan cities.

And not only are our cities some of the world’s best, but they’re also some of the safest.

But not all cities are created equal.

Nice City

In fact, in some cities, crime rates are so high they could be considered dangerous.

So if you’re thinking of buying a home or investment property in Australia, you’ll want to make sure the area you’re buying in will be safe and secure.

Here’s a rundown of the safest Australian cities, using data from Numbeo’s Australian crime index which uses an index of 0-100.

The full top list of safety ranking of Australia’s 17 cities looks as follows:

Rank City Safety Index Crime Index
1 Canberra 72.2 27.8
2 Adelaide 67 33
3 Hobart 65.9 34.1
4 Sydney 65.6 34.4
5 Brisbane 63.1 36.9
6 Perth 57.5 42.5
7 Melbourne 56 44
8 Gold Coast 53.6 46.4
9 Newcastle 51.2 48.8
10 Wollongong 50.2 49.8
11 Townsville 41.2 58.8
12 Geelong 40.7 59.3
13 Toowoomba 40.5 59.5
14 Darwin 38.2 61.8
15 Cairns 37.1 62.9
16 Rockhampton 32 68
17 Alice Springs 28.1 71.9


1. Canberra

Crime rate: 27.76

Safety index: 72.24

The nation’s capital is also Australia’s safest city.

Located around 300km south of Sydney in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra has a small population of around 472,000 people.

The city’s low crime rate and high safety index put it in the first place of all of Australia’s cities, with a very low risk of being mugged or robbed or suffering any physical attack because of your skin color, ethnic origin, gender, or religion.


2. Adelaide

Crime rate: 33.0

Safety index: 67.0

The second safest place to live in Australia is Adelaide.

As the capital city of South Australia, Adelaide is the state's largest city and the fifth-most populous city in Australia thanks to its 1.367 million-strong population.

The city boasts lower property prices compared to Australia’s other major cities, beautiful beaches and nature reserves, and world-class wine regions such as the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley.

Its low crime rate and high safety index mean it sits up at the top of Australia’s safest cities index, with a low risk of being attacked, robbed, or assaulted to name a few.


3. Hobart

Crime rate: 34.1

Safety index: 65.9

The arty and fashionable city of Hobart, the capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, comes in as the third safest place to live in Australia.

Its historic district and colonial-era buildings sit against the backdrop of Mount Wellington and its impressive views and cycling trails.

Hobart is a relatively small capital city with a population of around 265,000 and is a very safe city by both Australian and world standards, again with a low crime rate and a high safety index, particularly when it comes to the risk of being attacked, robbed, or assaulted.


4. Sydney

Crime rate: 34.4

Safety index: 65.6 

Until recently Sydney was Australia’s largest city, with an estimated population of around 5.3 million, but now Melbourne has taken this mantel after increasing it’s geographic boundaries.

However, Sydney pips Melbourne with regards to safety coming in as the fourth safest city in Australia.

Arguably it’s also Australia’s most famous city thanks to its world-recognised landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and iconic beaches, and this makes Sydney one of the most popular places for tourists and residents to live.

By global standards, Sydney is an extremely safe city to live in.

In fact, it was ranked the fourth safest city in the world in 2021 by The Economist Intelligence Unit, beating out ongoing rival Melbourne, which took 8th spot.

Sydney was also ranked first place for the world’s best digital security, 10th place for health security, joint 9th place with Chicago for infrastructure security, 11th place for personal security, and 16th place for environmental security.

Even within a city that is generally considered quite safe, there are bound to be pockets of crime and disorder.

But Sydney’s low crime rate and high safety index put it in 4th place on our list, with low risk of crime across the board with the exception of drugs, vandalism, and theft (which is still only listed as moderate).


5. Brisbane

Crime rate: 36.9

Safety index: 63.1

The riverside city of Brisbane is a popular tourist destination with major landmarks and attractions enticing visitors.

It ranks well on the Safe Cities index, with a crime rate at the lower end of the scale and a safety index above 60.

Brisbane is the third largest city behind Sydney and Melbourne and one which saw a boom in its population as Aussies flocked to Queensland’s cheaper property markets and lifestyle living… and it makes number 5 on our safe cities list.

Crime risk is low across most categories but an uptick in criminal incidents over the past 3 years has dragged up the city’s average.


6. Perth

Crime rate: 42.5

Safety index: 57.5 

For the 6th safest city in Australia - Perth - the numbers drop down a little on the index.

The city is still considered very safe by global standards but issues around Perth’s higher rates of theft skew in some pockets across the city mean the risk rating to moderate across most categories, and the city comes in with a ‘high’ rating for uptick in criminal incidents over the past 3 years.

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is the fourth largest and most populous city in Australia, with a population of 2.1 million, and is one of the most isolated cities in the country.

It boasts sandy beaches, extended sunshine hours, good weather, and a Mediterranean climate making it also among the world’s most livable.


7. Melbourne

Crime rate: 44.0

Safety index: 56.0

Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, is now ranked the largest city in Australia with a population of around 5.23 million people and is known for its bustling nightlife, cultural events, and diverse population.

According to the most recent data from the Australian Government, the overall crime rate in Melbourne City has increased in the past 3 years thanks to a spike in incidents in certain pockets across the city.

But it’s important to remember, that while crime rates have risen, Melbourne still represents a very safe place to live by global standards.

In fact, the city was even ranked the 8th safest city in the world in 2021 by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Melbourne was ranked 8th place for the world’s digital security, 4th for health security, joint 15th with Madrid for infrastructure security, 18th for personal security, and 25th for environmental security.

In our ranking, Melbourne comes in 7th place thanks to its low to moderate safety concerns across the remaining categories.

Gold Coast

8. Gold Coast

Crime rate: 46.4

Safety index: 53.6 

Famous for its surf breaks, beaches, theme parks, shopping, vibrant nightlife, and hinterland, the Gold Coast has been high on the list for many Aussie and international visitors, property investors, and home buyers for some time now.

The city - with its estimated 732,000 population - is Queensland’s second-largest city and the 6th-largest city in Australia.

And the Gold Coast is a safe city too, taking out the 8th spot on our safest cities list.

Crime rates are low to moderate across all categories with the exception of an uptick in criminal incidents over the past 3 years, which scored a ‘high’ rating.


9. Newcastle

Crime rate: 48.8

Safety index: 53.6 

The harbour city of Newcastle is the 7th largest in Australia with an estimated population of over 461,000 people.

Interestingly famous as a coal export hub, the city also ranks well in terms of safety, although lower than all the other cities listed above.

Its crime rate is higher, at just under 50, thanks to high incidents of drug-related crime and an uptick in criminal incidents in the past 3 years.

In all other categories, Newcastle was given a ‘moderate rating’, with the exception of car theft or worries about being subject to a physical attack because of your skin colour, ethnic origin, gender, or religion, which was ‘low’.


10. Wollongong

Crime rate: 49.8

Safety index: 50.2 

Wollongong, a coastal city south of Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive is known for its surfing beaches, rock pools, and jagged coastline.

The level of crime in Wollongong is considered moderate, thanks to an increase in incidents over the past 3 years with concerns about drug-related crime in particular.

The city has concentrated pockets of lower socioeconomic populations and higher crime rates.

The city is still rated well in terms of safety on a global standard but comes in on the lower end in terms of safety ranking of all cities in Australia.

About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
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