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The rate of offending on both NSW trains and at stations is very low, however relative risk varies considerably depending upon location, day of week and time of day.

The rail transport system is an integral part of the State’s urban infrastructure. Residents in the Sydney Statistical Division make approximately one million train trips on an average weekday. While this only accounts for five per cent of trips (most are made by car), it accounts for 13 per cent of the distance travelled and nearly 10 per cent of the time travelled on a typical weekday. Most train journeys occur without experiencing any form of crime. However, a number of passengers report concerns over personal security on one or more of their passenger journeys. For example, in 2008, 26 per cent of train users reported feeling threatened by the actions of other people on a train or at a station, 19 per cent reported witnessing or being a victim of criminal activity or violent behaviour, and 23 per cent of train users reported witnessing or being a victim of harassment or verbal abuse.

While surveys such as these provide important information about the extent of victimisation on the rail system, surveys do not allow for detailed analysis of crime in particular locations or at particular times. Crime information recorded by the NSW Police Force allows for these sorts of comparisons. In 1994, the Bureau published a report detailing the spatial and temporal characteristics of recorded crime on the NSW rail system. The report attracted widespread public interest. The data reported in Jochelson’s report covered the early part of the 1990s and are now very out of date. The aim of the current report is to update Jochelson’s study to give a broad profile of recorded crime on the NSW rail system between the years 2001 and 2010.

Image: emmettanderson / flickr

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