Unfortunately, like all capital cities, Sydney has thieves so be careful to keep your belongings safe. Do not leave valuables unattended even for a moment. Also be aware of those around you. Also a good idea not to have your wallet within view in your back pocket.
There's nothing especially dangerous about Sydney, and it feels completely safe and relaxed around the centre, especially during the day. There are a few parts that have bad reputations, but they are outside the CBD. The most infamous area is Kings Cross, famed haunt of drug addicts, prostitutes and gangsters. But that area is becoming gentrified and its reputation has made it a bit of a tourist attraction in itself. There's a lot going on in Kings Cross, and there are a lot of budget hotels and hostels there too.
Take a closer look at these photos that I took in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney. These young ladies (maybe in the autralian school-uniform ?) were a bit annoyed by the fact that they thought that I would take pictures of themselves, BUT instead I found it quite funny to see from the distance, that a large white bird (obviously an Australian white Ibis ) had started to grab some of the food that these young ladies had taken with them for a picknick !
I did not get the idea that pickpockets are a special issue in Sydney,
BUT of course it makes sense to be careful all the time !
Sydney is mostly safe, apart from some dodgy areas. Here are some areas that you should avoid and places you should be safe:
South Sydney (Cronulla, Woolooware, Sutherland).
East Sydney (Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Double Bay).
Bondi (relatively safe)
Most of the city
Redfern (if you have to go to Redfern avoid Eveleigh Street at all costs)
West Sydney (some places like Mount Druitt, Blacktown, Wiley Park).
Train stations late (past 9pm) can be almost deserted and unsafe. Youths and people up to trouble can hang around train stations. My tip when coming from the city to South Sydney at night, I use Kogarah instead of Rockdale as a few years back there was a shooting outside Rockdale Station (near the buses). Most train stations in daylight are fine, just watch pick-pockets. The only problem I have had was people swearing on a train, I avoided eye contact and said nothing to them- that's what I recommend.
I've lived in Sydney all my life and I love it. There are certainly a few areas travellers should avoid unless they know what they are doing.
Many of the suburbs between Blacktown and Penrith are rough and dangerous. Drug & alcohol problems as well as general violence and crime exist in many of these suburbs. Mount Druitt, Emerton, Doonside, Blacktown and Seven Hills are just some of the suburbs in this area that should be avoided. A friend of mine got chased by a bunch of youths near Seven Hills station trying to either start a fight or steal his car.
Cabramatta is a suburb that many Sydney residents will associate with drugs and street fights. While this suburb has improved significantly, it still has a menacing dark side to it that exists in the small laneways and the railway station.
Suburbs in Campbelltown council area are, for the most part, quite poor and dangerous. Especially Macquarie Fields, the site of the notorious Macquarie Fields riots of 2005. Woodbine and Raby for instance are relatively safe compared to the neighbouring suburbs.
Bankstown, Punchbowl and Lakember are great examples of the wonderful multiculturalism we enjoy here in Sydney but these suburbs can prove to be violent. Many youths in these suburbs arm themselves with knives and blades. If you mind your own business you will usually stay safe and they won't bother you. People in these suburbs may randomly shout out at you but if they are ignored you should be fine.
And I saved the most notorious suburb for last: Redfern. Not 5 minutes from the CBD is this very unsafe and violent suburb. Like Macquarie Fields this suburb has hosted a riot and many residents of this suburb are hostile to outsiders and police. The well-lit areas of the station are safe but outside the station is very dangerous. This suburb has countless public housing blocks. Many of these public housing blocks have drug, alcohol and violence problems. Streets like Eveleigh St and Louis St are extremely unsafe unless you are an Aboriginal. I strongly recommend tourists to not visit this suburb or your next stop could easily be the hospital. People have gotten stabbed and beaten up walking around this suburb especially at night.
I hope this won't put of potential tourists to Sydney as we have many great and importantly safe suburbs that boast a lot of culture and diversity. It's just good to know the areas to avoid so as to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Be wary of the areas mentioned - however dont forget petty thieves have cars and catch trains too. Middle class suburbs have bag snatching on quiet, tree-lined streets, even in the daytime (less common but it does happen). Tip for walking anywhere - try to wear a bag with the shoulder strap across the shoulder, be aware of who is around you walking the streets, and don't wear an mp3 player as you become oblivious.
When you sit at a table, or otherwise occupied, ensure your legs or feet have control of the bag.
Petty crime escalates on weekends - perhaps sad 20 year old thieves have nothing to do on a Saturday night? So be more aware then.
It's just commonsense - things you should be wary of in your hometown.
Redfern is one stop from Central Station. There have been some big conflicts there lately between local indigenous Australians and the police.
Redfern has always had it's problems. Generally it is a safe area during the day but bag snatchings do occur often. Keep your wits about you and dont take your eyes off your belongings.
Eveleigh Street should be avoided at all costs. This street is off limits to non Indigenous people. Police are not even allowed to enter this street. So as you can imagine, there is a lot of riff-raff on and around this block which incidentally is known as 'The Block'
Going to Hyde Park is only recommendable during day, neither at dusk nor in the night or at dawn the park is very safe! There are several bag snatchers lingering around. I just saw a guy who was sneaking around the bench where I had placed my bag next to me. When I
realized his intentions, I quickly put it on my back and he went away. It was obvious what
he wanted to do.
I would not recommend going to Hyde Park with lots of valuable stuff. Police does not seem to bother, either.
Refern is notorious for trouble, especially at night.
If you can avoid it, then that is the best option. Otherwise, take extra care with your wallets and handbags and try to avoid eye contact with most people.
Do not give any money to beggars as bag snatchers and pick pockets use the homeless as decoys to snatch your bag/wallet while you are giving money.
There are also alot af assaults that take place in Redfern, so please be careful!
If you do get into trouble, there are always guards at the Train Station.
I have lived here all my life and i love it. Some areas to avoid - Redfern without a doubt, no reason why tourists would go there anyway.
King's Cross is an experience, just watch your back and you will be fine. The 'Cinema strip' on George St at night is dangerous - that includes from the Queen Victoria Building to Sydney RSL club i would say.
Dodgy areas outside of the city loop:
Bankstown and Punchbowl, dont go there if not necessary - drugs and violence occurs. Some areas of the Campbelltown district would give the Bronx a run for its money anyday - particuarly Claymore, Airds and Macquarie Fields.
In the Penrith district Mount Druitt and Erskine Park are pretty dodgy at times.
Most of Sydney is beautiful, just stay away from the crappy parts and you will never want to leave.
Ever you driving, the bag snatching will snatch your bag through the window or open your door........
~~Dont forget lock the door when you driving in Sydney~~ Specially in King Cross
When you call the police, maybe you have to wait until the bag snatching go far away...
Just use common sense like every place else you would go. I don't know that crime is a problem in Sydney, but whenever I go abroad, I wear a neck wallet, sometimes putting a cheap (and empty) wallet in my back pocket as a decoy for pickpockets. When you're eating or talking on a public phone, straddle your backpack or purse so as to keep a better eye on it and to prevent it from getting far if some rotter tries to take it. As anywhere else, if your gut tells you not to go there, don't go.