Author Melissa Burgess and Katrina Grech
Published August 2011
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 64
Subject Public order offences
Keywords Personal crime, public transport, rail, train, NSW

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To provide an overview of the incidence of offences against the person on the NSW rail system.


Analysis of data from the NSW Police Force’s Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS).


Recorded rates of personal crime on the NSW rail system are generally very low. 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. Not all stations carry the same risk. On stations where personal offences had occured, the risk varied from 0.02 per 100,000 interchanges at North Sydney station to 3.2 per 100,000 interchanges at Waratah station. Non-domestic assault is the most commonly recorded personal offence (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.


Crime on the rail system is not evenly distributed across time and space. It is hoped that the current findings are a useful source of information for public transport users and for policy makers who are tasked with making decisions about crime control on the NSW rail system.

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