More than a third of Australians (36%) feel unsafe during daylight hours, rising to 53% after dark with cybercrime top of the list of safety concerns, according to the inaugural
Australian Security Confidence Index.
The Inaugural Australian Security Confidence Index (ASCI) was commissioned by the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL) and indicates that many Australians deliberately avoid going into the city at night, using public transport and taking an evening walk in their neighbourhood in a bid to be more safe and secure.
The study, conducted by NielsenIQ, is timely because it comes a year into the world’s most severe pandemic in a century and at a time of heightened awareness of dangers in suburbia, cities, at home, at work, abroad and online.
NSW and the ACT score highest in feeling unsafe during the day on using taxis, public transport and airports, restaurants and bars, educational institutions and in the home averaging nearly 15%. All activity is perceived as much more dangerous at night, with public transport jumping to 33%, being at local parks/sports grounds rising to 31% and walking in local streets up to 26%.
Australians nationally feel most unsafe online (41%), especially people over 40, who fear cybercrime, identity theft and other cyber attacks while using online banking, chatting in social media or online shopping.
The findings reveal an abiding sense of threat in the minds of Australians who are often listed as among the happier people in the world in studies such as the United Nations’ World Happiness Report.
ASIAL Chief Executive Bryan de Caires said that the ASCI sends an important signal to all governments. “Local, State/Territory and the Federal Government should take note that all of us deserve the right to feel safe and not have our lifestyles diminished. The opportunity here is to have a national conversation about security in Australia and it is crucial that all the governments work as a team towards national standards that will give Australians genuine safety and security but also the strong feeling of safety that they should have”.
In addition to the obvious emotional and mental health issues surrounding a feeling of being unsafe, there is also an economic factor to this issue because people who are concerned about exposure to dangers in city streets at night and online are less likely to spend their money in these settings.
The Security Industry plans to partner with NielsenIQ annually to deliver an updated Australian Security Confidence Index at the start of every year to monitor how secure Australians feel in all walks of life.