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Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities in Australia (2024)

Australia is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful and safest countries in the world. However, just like other countries, there are a few cities in Australia that have higher crime rates making them dangerous.

A list of the most dangerous cities in Australia includes Alice Springs, Rockhampton, Cairns, Darwin, Toowoomba, Townsville, Geelong, Ballarat, Wollongong, and Newcastle amongst others.

Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities in Australia

S/N Most Dangerous Cities in Australia
1. Alice Springs
2. Rockhampton
3. Cairns
4. Darwin
5. Toowoomba
6. Townsville
7. Geelong
8. Ballarat
9. Wollongong
10. Newcastle
11. Melbourne
12. Perth
13. Brisbane
14. Sydney
15. Hobart
16. Adelaide
17. Canberra
18. Gold Coast
19. Mandurah
20. Burnie
21. Launceston
22. Mackay
23. Cairns North
24. Sunshine Coast
25. Hervey Bay
26. Bunbury
27. Tamworth
28. Wagga Wagga
29. Lismore
30. Port Macquarie
31. Warrnambool
32. Mildura
33. Albury
34. Shepparton
35. Orange
36. Nowra
37. Port Lincoln
38. Coffs Harbour
39. Gladstone
40. Dubbo
41. Warragul
42. Ballarat North
43. Bendigo
44. Traralgon
45. Sale
46. Wodonga
47. Wangaratta
48. Mildura North
49. Devonport
50. Mount Gambier

1. Alice Springs

Alice Springs, located in the remote Australian city, serves as a gateway for those exploring the Red Centre, the vast interior desert region. With its historical origins dating back to 1872 as part of the Overland Telegraph Line, Alice Springs boasts many old vintage buildings and equipment at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. However, Alice Springs is the most dangerous city in Australia.

Alice Springs has gained a reputation for serious crime problems, with many attributing the rise in crime to the lifting of an alcohol ban. In the previous year alone, there were a staggering 2,823 assaults, with a significant portion involving alcohol. The overall crime rate reached a shocking 11,000 crimes against people per 100,000 residents, while property crime soared to 28,980 per 100,000 people. Disturbingly, residents report random acts of violence, including ambulances being pelted with rocks, frequent shop window breakages, and violent home robberies targeting the elderly.

2. Rockhampton

Rockhampton is a city in Central Queensland and holds the record of being the oldest city in the northern state of Queensland. Known for its beef production, the city is adorned with bull statues, reflecting its agricultural heritage. Visitors can step back in time by exploring cottages, woolsheds, and antique cars at the Rockhampton Heritage Village, which re-creates local life from 1850 to 1950.

However, a shadow is cast over Rockhampton due to its low safety index score of only 28. The city grapples with a crime rate of 71 per 100,000 residents, with reported crimes including home burglaries, muggings, assaults (including hate crimes), and drug-related activities. This situation has led to concerns about walking around at night.

3. Cairns

Cairns, often regarded as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, is a city nestled in tropical Far North Queensland. This vibrant city attracts tourists looking to snorkel and dive among the 2900 individual reefs and over 1,500 species of marine life that populate the reef. Cairns’ downtown area offers a plethora of restaurants, bars, and boutiques, making it a tourist hotspot.

Unfortunately, Cairns also finds itself on the list of Australia’s less safe cities. With a population of 153,900, the city reported over 18,200 crimes in 2022, including break-ins, muggings, assaults, car thefts, and vandalism. In a twist of irony, in March of 2023, a Cairns police officer was attacked while reporting a crime. This city ranks 302nd on the list of safest cities in Australia, indicating significant safety concerns.

4. Darwin

Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and it boasts a rich history as a former frontier outpost and is a gateway to the Kakadu National Park. The city’s waterfront area features several beaches and green spaces, such as Bicentennial Park. Visitors can explore the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which showcases Southeast Asian and Pacific art, as well as maritime artifacts like pearling luggers.

While tourists generally need to be cautious about scams and pickpockets, they are not the primary targets of Darwin’s crime surge. In 2022, the city reported over 10,200 assaults, with commercial break-ins and robberies witnessing a shocking 62% increase compared to the previous year. Business owners express fear, especially following the tragic murder of a bottle shop employee who was stabbed to death after refusing service. Protests against the high crime rate have become a regular occurrence in the city.

5. Toowoomba

Toowoomba, a city in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland, is known for its historical charm and features like the Cobb & Co Museum, showcasing horse-drawn carriages. The Royal Bull’s Head Inn, an 1800s homestead, offers colonial-era displays. Nearby Ravensbourne National Park boasts towering red cedars and rainforests, while Crows Nest National Park features eucalyptus forests, granite boulders, and Crows Nest Falls.

Despite its historic appeal, Toowoomba faces significant safety challenges. With a population of just over 142,163, the city has a crime rate worse than 98.9% of cities its size. In the past year, there were 639 reported thefts, 273 drug-related arrests, and 124 crimes of deception, painting a grim picture of the city’s safety situation.

6. Townsville

Townsville is a city in northeastern Queensland that welcomes visitors with its beautiful esplanade known as The Strand. This waterfront paradise features a pier, waterpark, and the renowned Reef HQ Aquarium, home to marine life and coral from the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, the city boasts the Billabong Sanctuary Wildlife Park, where you can encounter koalas, wombats, and crocodiles.

However, despite its picturesque setting, Townsville faces safety concerns. With a population of just over 180,800, it’s considered a resort town. Sadly, it also ranks as one of the worst cities for crime. In the past year, an alarming total of 31,932 crimes were reported, including break-ins, drug offenses, and assaults. Notably, youth gangs are responsible for a significant portion of this crime wave. For tourists, safeguarding valuables, locking cars, and avoiding nighttime strolls are crucial precautions.

7. Geelong

Geelong, located southwest of Melbourne, offers a charming bay setting with attractions like The Waterfront esplanade, an Art Deco boardwalk, and the Eastern Beach sea bath. Colorful sculptures, known as the Baywalk Bollards, tell the city’s history along The Waterfront. Moreover, Geelong Botanic Gardens and the National Wool Museum are key highlights of this Victorian city.

With a population of 276,116, Geelong has witnessed a 17% increase in crime in 2022 compared to the previous year. A total of 456 crimes, including assaults, vehicle theft, and aggravated burglary, were reported. Visitors are advised to exercise caution in crowded areas and avoid nighttime wandering without a specific purpose.

8. Ballarat

Ballarat, situated in the Central Highlands of Victoria, holds a special place in Australia’s history. It played a significant role in the Victorian gold rush, rivaling Melbourne in terms of wealth and cultural influence during that era. Today, one of its main attractions is The Sovereign Hill open-air museum, which recreates a gold mining settlement.

With a population of around 116,000, Ballarat scores 56.5 on the crime index, indicating it is moderately dangerous compared to cities of similar size. Reported crimes include drug dealing, vandalism, theft, assault, and armed robbery. Visitors are urged to secure valuables and remain cautious, especially regarding tax-related scams.

9. Wollongong

Wollongong is a coastal city south of Sydney with stunning surfing beaches, rock pools, and the lush forests and cliffs of Mt. Keira. Additionally, Bald Hill is a popular spot for hang gliding, while the Nan Tien Buddhist temple and Lake Illawarra offer cultural and recreational experiences.

Boasting a population of 295,600, Wollongong also hosts several industrial companies. It scores 54 on the crime index, placing it in the moderately dangerous category. Common crimes reported include harassment, drug dealing, and assaults. Visitors should exercise caution, particularly when moving about at night.

10. Newcastle

Newcastle is a harbor city in New South Wales and features numerous beaches connected by the Bathers Way coastal walk. This picturesque route stretches between Nobbys Beach and Merewether Beach, offering access to historic sites like the 1880s Fort Scratchley. The fort serves as a viewpoint for whale watching during migration seasons.

As a harbor city with plentiful beaches, Newcastle carries a crime index score of 49.5 making it one of the most dangerous cities in Australia. In the past year, 784 crimes were reported, ranging from theft to assault and vandalism. While the city’s history is intriguing, visitors should remain vigilant and take precautions to ensure their safety.

Other dangerous cities in Australia are:

  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Brisbane
  • Sydney
  • Hobart
  • Adelaide
  • Canberra
  • Gold Coast
  • Mandurah
  • Burnie
  • Launceston
  • Mackay
  • Cairns North
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Hervey Bay
  • Bunbury
  • Tamworth
  • Wagga Wagga
  • Lismore
  • Port Macquarie
  • Warrnambool
  • Mildura
  • Albury
  • Shepparton
  • Orange
  • Nowra
  • Port Lincoln
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Gladstone
  • Dubbo
  • Warragul
  • Ballarat North
  • Bendigo
  • Traralgon
  • Sale
  • Wodonga
  • Wangaratta
  • Mildura North
  • Devonport
  • Mount Gambier


Wrap Up

This article has shed light on the most dangerous cities in Australia with different reasons for their high crime rates. The presence of these cities on the list serves as a reminder that challenges related to public safety and criminal activities continue to pose concerns for residents and authorities alike.

However, while the list showcases the cities with higher crime rates, it is important to note that Australia, as a whole, remains a relatively safe country compared to many others around the world. The majority of cities in Australia maintain a high standard of safety, offering a quality of life that is desirable for residents and visitors alike.

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