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Crime and Safety

Australia - Crime and Safety


If you should need any branch of the emergency services while you are in Australia, the number to call is 000.

There are a number of issues with crime that newcomers to the country should be aware of. Pickpocketing and theft rates are high in areas that are frequented by tourists. The usual advice about keeping a close eye on bags and wallets as well as not leaving valuables on display in cars applies in Australia. Bags should not be left unattended as they are then at the mercy of thieves and will also be considered to be a security risk. Areas in Sydney which see higher crime rates include Kings Cross, George Street, Hyde Park and Centennial Park.

Bank fraud is also on the increase in Australia and if you are using an ATM you should take care that there are no card reading devices attached to the machine. Be wary of using an ATM if you think that there are people close by just doing nothing.

One particular risk for expats is online scams which claim to arrange rental properties. These ask you to send monies, usually via a wiring service, in return for the rental agreements. These properties are usually non-existent and many people moving to the country have fallen victim to a similar scam. There are also many spam email scams in existence which claim that you have won the lottery and ask you to send cash in return for the release of funds.

Crime rates are generally no higher than they are in the US or the UK when it comes to burglaries and other types of crime. It does not matter where you choose to settle in Australia, you are unlikely to avoid crime at all but the usually security measures are recommended for homes such as good locks and alarms, and alarms are recommended for cars. Poorer areas of cities are usually the areas with the highest crime rates.

There are harsh penalties for those who are caught with illegal substances and for foreign nationals this usually means deportation. There is generally a relaxed attitude towards homosexuality, although in some areas there are some instances of homophobic crimes so you should be aware of this before you travel and discretion in areas where this is a problem is advised.

If your passport is stolen or lost then you need to contact your embassy who will give you advice on obtaining a replacement. It is advised that you keep a photocopy of the page of your passport with all the relevant ID information on it, such as the passport number to make it easier to obtain a replacement. This may take several weeks. For UK passports there is a regional passport processing centre in New Zealand, but this is the closest one.

Other safety advice which is issued by the UK Foreign Office includes advice on travelling within Australia itself. There are instances where tourists have been reported missing by those who were not completely aware of their travel plans and who have turned up within a day or two at a different location. If you are travelling in remote areas it is advisable to plan your journey in advance and give details of your itinerary to the local police, friends or colleagues, so that if there is any doubt about your whereabouts it can be easily checked.

Australian police are generally armed when out and about and there has been the use of tasers in recent years, which has caused some controversy. Officers are also usually equipped with batons and pepper spray. Visitors should be aware that there are several branches to the police force, as each state and territory has its own and its own regulations, while there is also a federal police force for the whole nation.


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Expat Health Insurance Partners


Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.