A quick note on Sydney’s supposed “violence epidemic”.

So I’d been wondering about this for some time, given the remarkable frequency with which we hear about the supposed epidemic of alcohol-fuelled violence in Australian cities, but I hadn’t gotten around to doing the numbers until today. The graph below shows the risk of a resident of metropolitan Sydney being assaulted in central Sydney (including King’s Cross) each year between 2001 and 2012 (2013 figures aren’t out yet). As you can see, the risk has actually gone down by about 20%, from 1.1 in 1,000 in 2001 to 0.9 in 1,000 in 2012.

Sydney Assault

This covers only “non-domestic assault”. I’ve used the entire population as the denominator as a lot of people who are assaulted in the city may actually reside in the suburbs. So, you can reassure your mother: you’re actually probably safer having a night on the town now than you were ten years ago.

Figures on non-domestic assault in the City of Sydney Local Government Area are from data.gov.au, population estimates for metropolitan Sydney from the ABS.

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