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A Look into Perth’s Crime Rate and How to Stay Safe

A Look into Perth’s Crime Rate and How to Stay Safe

No city is truly free of crime. Perth is no exception, and while it’s one of the safest places in Australia, its crime rate is still something you should take note of if you’re planning to visit the City of Lights.

In this article, I’ll discuss the current state of Perth’s crime rate, how the city compares to other cities in Australia, and what you can do to stay safe while in the city.

An Overview of Perth’s Crime Rate

So what’s the latest on the status of Perth’s crime rate? Perth’s total crime rate for the year 2022 is 8,744.24 for every 100,000 of its residents.

How did we get that result? From the latest data released by Western Australia Police Force, we took the 2022 total crimes reported in Perth (183,017), divided it by Perth’s latest population data (2,093,000), and multiplied the result by 100,000.

So what’s the latest on the status of Perth’s crime rate Perth’s total crime rate for the year 2022 is 8,744.24 for every 100,000 of its residents.

As you can see, the crimes committed in the city were hovering around 215,000 per year pre-pandemic.

The total lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic had dipped the crime rate to below 200,000, as it became harder to commit crimes with fewer people on the streets.

Sadly, the crime rate rose slowly every year after the lockdowns were lifted.

Breakdown of Crimes in Perth

Now that we know Perth’s current crime rate is 8,744.24 per 100,000 residents, it’s time to break the data down and see what crimes are most commonly committed, places to avoid, and how the city fares against other major cities.

What are the most common crimes in Perth?

To find the most common crimes committed in Perth, once again, we’ll rely on the data provided by the Western Australian Police Force.

What are the most common crimes in Perth

As the data shows, the top three crimes committed in the city in 2022 were stealing (60,074), fraud and related offences (28,110), and property damage (17,474).

The top three crimes are potentially a result of the city’s economic downturn after the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that crimes like fraud are on the rise worldwide.

Crime Hotspots in Perth

After learning about the most commonly committed crimes in Perth, we now have to discuss where most of these crimes actually take place.

Based on more data provided by the WA Police Force, here are the top 10 suburbs in Perth that have the highest crime rates.

SuburbTotal crimes committed (as of 2022)Total PopulationCrime rate for every 1,000 residents

Unfortunately, the suburb of Northbridge is the most dangerous place to visit due to the high crime rates in the area.

Unlike the other suburbs on the list, the crimes committed here are greater than the total population, with almost every resident experiencing or witnessing at least one crime per year.

This unfortunate circumstance has led to some dubbing Northbridge as Perth’s “Fear City.”The rivalry between gangs and organised crime syndicates has led to numerous violent crimes happening in the suburb, like stabbings and assaults.

the suburb of Northbridge is the most dangerous place to visit due to the high crime rates in the area.

Meanwhile, Perth (the actual city in the Perth CBD) and Fremantle are also crime hotspots because of their status as the most famous places to visit in the Perth Metropolitan Area.

As a local, I hope you take this list seriously and make sure that you exercise extra caution whenever you walk through these suburbs on your own.

How does Perth’s crime rate fare compared to other cities in Australia and internationally?

Now that we’ve discussed Perth’s crime rate on its own, let’s see how the city fares compared to other major cities, both in Australia and internationally.

Based on the survey on the website Numbeo, here’s how Perth ranks when it comes to the perception of safety and security among major Australian cities:

CityCrime IndexSafety Index
Gold Coast46.353.7
Wollongong 51.348.7
Source: Numbeo

As the fourth largest city in Australia, it’s a bit embarrassing for us to be only placed as the 6th safest city in the country in Numbeo’s rankings.

The only major cities Perth beats when it comes to safety are Melbourne, which ranks 7th, and Darwin, which is further down in the safety ranking.

However, a good thing about my city is that its hate crimes are low. As one of Australia’s largest cities with the most diverse populations, Perth is one of the safest for expats and members of minority groups like the LGBTQ.

Crime Perth

Perth ranks in the middle of Australia’s safest cities, but how does it fare internationally? According to users of Numbeo worldwide, here’s how Perth fares internationally when it comes to crime rates.

CitySafety Index
183. Halifax, Canada58.4
184. Bonn, Germany58.2
185. Sofia, Bulgaria58.2
186. Perth, Australia58.2
187. Iloilo, Philippines58.1
188. Pune, India58.1
189. Bristol, United Kingdom58.0
190. Hamburg, Germany57.8
Source: Numbeo

Again, Perth is sitting in the middle in the ranking of the safest cities in the world. It currently ranks 186th out of the 427 cities on the list.

Overall, I’d say that the ranking isn’t too bad, especially compared to major cities like New York (257th) and London (291st).

However, Perth’s ranking is too low compared to other major Australian cities. Canberra, the safest city in Australia, is currently ranked 53rd among the world’s safest cities.

Brisbane, the 5th safest city in Australia before Perth, is actually the 130th safest city in the world.

Possible Contributing Factors to Perth’s Crime Rate

train jumper Matthew Raoul White
Photo credit: PerthNow

Infamous Fremantle train jumper Matthew Raoul White

Okay, so we talked about the crime statistics in Perth. But what are the actual root causes of the rising crime rates in the city?

According to a 2001 report made by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, factors like substance abuse, poverty, unemployment, and more can lead to a rise in a city’s crime rate.

More recent studies conducted like this one seem to agree with the results found by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. 

Here we will discuss these factors and how they fit in with Perth’s current crime environment. 

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a blanket term used for consuming too much alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

Unlike your regular light drinkers or casual smokers, these people have largely grown addicted through the use of either or both legal and illegal substances.

Substance abuse is currently a serious issue in Australia. According to HealthDirect, around one in 20 Australians is a substance abuser. Becoming an addict poses a serious health risk, as it can damage internal organs in the long run.

Substance Abuse 2

It’s also found that substance abuse is one of the leading causes of many mental illnesses.

As most of us already know, quitting cold turkey is not an effective solution. Most addicts who suddenly quit are racked by debilitating withdrawal symptoms and can only prevent these symptoms through continued consumption of addictive products.

Because these addicts can no longer work due to their worsening conditions, they often turn to committing crimes in order to continue fueling their addiction.

Most addicts are also suffering from mental illnesses, which makes them more agitated and violent, especially towards their family and friends.

Substance abuse is a huge reason why crimes like theft and domestic violence are so high in Perth. It saddens me that I sometimes hear stories of domestic abuse among some of my acquaintances living here in Perth.



Unemployment is another huge reason for some people to turn to a life of crime. Whether by necessity or just pure boredom, people who are out of work are always at a high risk of committing crimes.

According to a report published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate currently sits at 3.5% nationwide.

Thankfully, the rate seems to be going down from the high unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although most studies still can’t fully determine how unemployment can affect a city’s crime rate, most of them agree that property damage-related crimes are always on the rise when more people become unemployed.



It’s no surprise to many that poverty is another strong contributor to a city’s rising crime rate.

Western Australia is currently experiencing a severe poverty issue, with as many as 17.5% of its population living below the poverty line, based on a report by Essex-TV. A significant portion of these people are currently living in Perth.

Many citizens of Perth were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, losing their jobs and other sources of income. Northbridge, the most dangerous suburb in the city, was among the hardest hit economically.

This is among the leading causes for the rise of theft and burglary crimes across Perth.

Despite the city’s continued recovery after the lifting of the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of these people are still unable to make ends meet.

Mental Health

Mental Health

It’s an unfortunate fact that certain mental illnesses can increase a person’s risk of committing a crime.

A report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed that up to 40% of prisoners in Australia have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The report further states that people suffering from psychotic behaviours and bipolar disorders are those with the highest risk of committing a crime. 

It was also found that those suffering from extreme stress and anxiety are more prone to committing violent acts.

Mental Health 2

According to Medibank, about 16.3% of people living in Western Australia suffer from anxiety, and about 15.8% suffer from depression. 

A study conducted by researchers from Oxford University found that people suffering from depression are three times more likely to commit a crime. 

Please take note that depression and anxiety DOES NOT make someone commit a crime, but they, especially when combined with other factors, CAN INCREASE the risk of some people becoming violent.

Western Australia’s and Perth’s mental illness statistics aren’t as high as other places in Australia. However, the numbers are still too high for a nation that is considered one of the best places to live.

This is a big reason why I always tell my friends and family to never be afraid to share their problems with me and others. I also continuously tell them the importance of therapy and why it shouldn’t be turned down out of pride or fear.

Perth’s Response to Its Crime Rate

Perth’s Response to Its Crime Rate

After a disheartening look into the causes of crimes in Perth, we must now discuss the measures the city is actively taking to counter its crime rate.

Here are some of the things Perth and Western Australia are doing in order to maintain peace and stability throughout their populations.

WA Police Force

WA Police Force

The Western Australia Police Force has rapidly continued to grow throughout the years in an attempt to combat the state’s capital’s slowly rising crime rates.

One of their most recent attempts to boost numbers is their International Recruiting Campaign.

Under this programme, the police force seeks to recruit seasoned officers from other policing agencies in major cities like London and Manchester with generous salaries and bonuses.

It is hoped that this project will assist the Western Australia Police Force in improving the quality of its police officers to meet international standards.

Special task forces are also being set up to combat more complex crimes, like the newly-founded anti-money laundering task force.

Modern Surveillance Technology

Modern Surveillance Technology

To aid in the police’s efforts to combat crime in the city, Perth’s local government had allocated a serious budget to equip most of its streets with security cameras and other surveillance gadgets.

A report by WAtoday shows that Perth had installed hundreds of security cameras in trouble spots like Northbridge, costing the city around $7 million.

I definitely noticed the increase in surveillance cameras throughout my weekly walks around the city. The streets around the city are also brighter at night thanks to the installation of more street lights in many suburbs of Perth.

This lighting programme cost the city an additional $6 million.

Social Programmes

Social Programmes

Perth’s social programmes are mostly in line with what you would expect to see in a city of a first-world country. Most of these programmes are aimed at helping those who have fallen on hard times and need a bit of help to come back up.

The local government provides financial assistance and accommodation services for those who are in need. Vulnerable groups like the elderly and children are also covered by Perth’s community support programs.

The city is also providing free counselling services to families in Perth who have suffered domestic abuse.

One of Perth’s unique programmes is its “Ask for Angela” programme. This campaign is aimed at raising awareness among many restaurants and bars in the city on how to deal with possible cases of sexual assault in their establishments.

Are Perth’s methods effective in combating its crime rate?

Perth’s methods for combating its crime rate were somewhat effective. Bringing up the data provided by WAtoday, a lot of the most troublesome suburbs in the city have actually experienced some decline in their crime rates.

Northbridge and Perth City are seeing a 15% decrease in their crime rates after the installation of high-tech surveillance cameras on their streets.

Are Perth’s methods effective in combating its crime rate

This is the latest data provided by the WA Police Force. Some crimes, like drug offences, are on the decline thanks to the police’s efforts.

However, crimes related to domestic violence have sharply risen because a significant part of Perth’s population is still suffering from the economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports published by the United Nations and several academic institutions like the American Journal of Emergency Medicine have found out that domestic violence cases have risen sharply worldwide during and after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Most of these people have relied on alcohol during the lockdowns which has increased their chances to become violent towards other people in their homes like their spouses and kids.

Many experts in Perth are now advising authorities to shift a significant part of their resources to addressing the rising domestic violence problem through social programmes like counselling and substance control.

Tips on How to Stay Safe While in Perth

As a visitor, you might be asking what you can do to stay safe while in Perth. Here are some tips I can give you as someone who has already lived for decades in this city.

Use an anti-theft bag

Tips on How to Stay Safe While in Perth

An anti-theft bag is a nifty tool you can use to deter pickpockets and snatchers. These bags are designed with security features like hidden zippers to make it very hard for pickpockets to open your bag without you noticing.

However, if you can’t find one, then I suggest that you wear your bag with the zipper tab closer to your front when the bag is closed.

This makes it easier for you to spot if someone is attempting to open your bag.

Always wear your backpack at the front while in public spaces

Always wear your backpack at the front while in public spaces

This tip is very important when you’re in public spaces or on public transportation. Wearing your backpack at the front ensures that it always stays within your vision, which makes opening it harder for criminals.

It’s also easier to reach for your items when your backpack is in front of your body. This fact is especially true in places where people gather in tight groups, like the Perth Zoo.

Stay in public areas

Stay in public areas

This is an important tip if it’s your first time visiting Perth. Staying in public areas makes it easy for you to call for help if something goes wrong. 

Don’t follow random strangers, no matter how friendly they may seem.

Criminals often lure unsuspecting tourists to places where there’s little to no traffic to prevent their victims from crying out for help.

As a local of Perth, I can assure you that while my city is one of the safer places in the world, there are still some shady people lurking in its dark corners.

Don’t immediately update your social media

Don’t immediately update your social media

This tip is for your privacy. Make sure not to immediately post or share your location on social media. 

This prevents nefarious elements in Perth from being able to follow a digital breadcrumb straight to you.

What I will suggest is that you take some photos and videos of your tour around the city, but only post these once you’ve arrived safely back at your hotel or, even better, back home.

While kidnapping cases are extremely low in Perth, it’s still best to exercise extreme caution for your own safety.

Don’t use your phone while walking

Don’t use your phone while walking

This is probably a tip you’ve already heard numerous times before, but don’t use your phone while walking!

Using your phone takes away your ability to pay attention to your surroundings. You won’t know if an oncoming car is barrelling towards you or if someone is rummaging through your bag while you’re busy fiddling with your phone.

If you want to know your specific location with the help of your smartphone’s GPS, step inside a restaurant or cafe first to keep yourself safe.

Or even better, ask one of Perth’s friendly locals! Don’t be shy about asking us for directions; we won’t bite, and we are more than happy to help a tourist enjoy the city to the fullest.

Trust your gut

Trust your gut

Above all else, always trust your gut instinct when visiting a place you’re not used to. We have evolved to sense the presence of danger in our surroundings.

This tip is especially important if you’re visiting Perth alone. Without a local friend to rely on, the next best thing you should trust is your brain, which is telling you that something doesn’t feel quite right.

Always inform a close friend or family member of your status

Always inform a close friend or family member of your status

This tip is very important for solo travellers. Make sure that you always keep a close friend or family member updated on your status while in Perth.

Keeping a trusted person updated on your status makes it easier for the city’s law enforcement to track down your location if something bad happens to you.

Know if your home country has an embassy in Perth

Know if your home country has an embassy in Perth

As a local, this is obviously something I don’t need to do, but I highly recommend tourists do it before visiting the city. Make sure you save or write down your country’s embassy address and contact details before visiting Perth.

Your country’s embassy or consulate is your best bet for getting help if you lose important documents like your passport while travelling around the city.

Areas in Perth We Recommend Tourists Avoid

Areas in Perth We Recommend Tourists Avoid

Despite being a generally safe city to visit, there are still some areas of Perth that are magnets for crime and other dangerous activities.

Here are some areas in Perth we recommend first-time visitors avoid:

  • Northbridge
  • Midland
  • Victoria Park
  • Fremantle
  • Osborne Park
  • Armadale

These neighbourhoods are among the places with the highest amount of crimes reported. Make sure to avoid visiting these places at night and exercise extreme caution when visiting these areas.

I recommend that you hail a cab instead of walking through these areas if you absolutely need or want to visit a location in these places.

What are Perth’s emergency services, and how can I contact them?

Part of preparing for your visit to Perth is knowing the contact numbers for its emergency services.

Here are the numbers I suggest you temporarily save in your smartphone so you’ll have no problem asking for assistance during emergencies:

What are Perth’s emergency services, and how can I contact them
Photo credit: City of Perth

I recommend you use WA Police’s 131 444 for reporting developing situations like a worsening altercation in a bar.

Meanwhile, the CityWatch number can be used to report an emergency that has occurred within a surveillance camera’s line of sight. These CCTVs can become extremely useful in finding a criminal faster.

FAQS about Perth’s Safety

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