Crime on the Rail System 


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Release date: 14 September 2011

Recorded rates of personal crime on the NSW rail system are generally very low according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics.

On a typical weekday across NSW the rate of personal crimes on trains is 0.3 incidents per 100,000 passenger journeys. Similarly, the rate of personal crimes on railway stations is 0.04 per 100,000 passenger interchanges 1.

Not all stations, however, carry the same risk. On stations where personal offences had occurred, the risk varied from 0.02 per 100,000 interchanges at North Sydney station to 3.2 per 100,000 interchanges at Waratah station.

Only 3.1 per cent of all recorded assault incidents occur on the rail system. The corresponding figures for other personal offences on the rail system are 8.5% (stealing from the person), 5.6% (robbery), 0.4% (sexual assault) and 3.6% (other sexual offences).

Non-domestic assault is the most commonly recorded personal offence on the rail system (49.5% of incidents), followed by steal from person (30.2% of incidents), robbery (12.2% of incidents), other sexual offences (7.5% of incidents) and sexual assault (0.6% of incidents).

The overall risk of victimisation on weekdays is highest during the afternoon commuter period (3:00pm to 6:30pm) and lowest during the early morning travel period (2:00am to 6:00am). Risk of victimisation on weekends is highest in evening (6:30pm to 2:00am) and early morning (2:00am to 6:00am) periods.

The number of recorded assaults and 'other' sexual offences 2 on the rail system increased over the last 10 years. The number of steal from the person and robbery offences, however, declined substantially. Over the last two years, the number of personal crimes on the rail system has remained stable.

The majority of victims of non-domestic assault and robbery are male. The ratio of male to female victims for steal from person incidents was close to one. Females were much more likely to be victims of a sexual offence.

For all of the personal offences the majority (45%) of victims were aged between 18 and 29 years. Fewer than 10 per cent of victims were aged over 50. For each of the personal offences, over 75% of the offenders were male. The majority of offenders of non-domestic assault are male, aged between 18 and 29 years (35%) or between 10 and 17 years (23%).

Commenting on the figures, the Director of the Bureau said that the rail system was safer than many believe. "The raw statistics look worrying until you take the number of passengers using the rail system into account. Then you discover the actual rate of offending is actually quite low".

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190


1 One passenger journey = two interchanges
2 Other sexual offences include such things as indecent assault. The number of sexual assaults on the rail system is too low to determine a trend.