Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The facts about the crime rate in Mandurah

The facts about the crime rate in Mandurah

What’s the crime rate in Mandurah like compared to other places in WA?

There's a common perception that crime is more prevalent here in Mandurah than elsewhere. 

I've had conversations with friends in Perth about my living in Mandurah, and more than once they've asked me how I go living somewhere that crime is so bad. I usually shrug and allow the conversation to awkwardly change topic. 

Even local Mandurah residents I've spoken to seem to be under the impression that crime is pretty high here. 

This lead me to investigate the actual crime data for Mandurah for myself, to see what the real story was. 

What I found completely surprised me. 

Not only are the crime rates in Mandurah not very high, they're significantly lower than most other regional cities in WA, and lower than many Perth suburbs. 

In the interest of brevity I'm focusing on home burglary statistics in this article. 

When I measured the number of burglaries compared with the number of dwellings, what I found was that most Mandurah suburbs are much much safer than many Perth suburbs and most other regional cities.

The data below is for the financial year 2014/15. Crime data is from WAPOL and dwelling data is from ABS. 

So what I've done for each Mandurah suburb is measure the number of homes, and compare it to the number of home burglaries for the year.

The number of burglaries

Divided by the number of homes 

Gives us a percentage score. 

This makes it possible to compare suburbs of difference sizes. 

If there's 100 burglaries and 1000 homes That's a score of 10%

So the lower the number the better. 

Got it? Great. 


So what's a typical burglary rate then for any given suburb? 

Here are some numbers for a handful of regional cities and some Perth suburbs. 

Geraldton

Geraldton is 420kms north of Perth, and has an overall score of 8.88%. That’s one of the highest in WA. 

Bunbury

Bunbury, about an hour south of Mandurah, has an overall score of 3.16%

Busselton

Busselton scored a very impressive 1.12%

Balga 

Balga, one of the worst suburbs in Perth for burglaries, is 7.84%

Peppermint Grove

Upmarket Peppermint Grove is 2.58%

Scarborough

Scarborough is 3.05%

Balcatta

Balcatta is 3.87%


Ok, so what are the numbers for Mandurah? 

The overall score for all Mandurah suburbs combined is 3.12%

That's right. 3.12%

It's a LOT lower than I was expecting.  

It's not the lowest in the state, sure. But there are a LOT of places that are worse.

That figure is a total of ALL burglaries in all suburbs, divided by all dwellings in all suburbs. 

Here's a breakdown for a number of Mandurah suburbs. 

Barragup: 3.01%
Bouvard: 1.45%
Coodanup: 4.77%
Dawesville: 2.13%
Dudley Park: 2.88%
Erskine: 1.34%
Falcon: 1.87%
Greenfields: 3.47%
Halls Head: 2.16%
Herron: 5.13%
Lakelands: 5.12%
Madora Bay: 3.89%
Mandurah (suburb)*: 5.12%
Meadow Springs: 3.62%
Parklands: 1.02%
San Remo: 2.61%
Silver Sands: 3.89%
Stake Hill: 3.14%
Wannanup: 1.79%


Here's how Mandurah compares to the rest of WA

Here's how some of Mandurah's suburbs compare to a selection of Perth suburbs


But I read somewhere that crime was really bad in Mandurah?!

You may have seen those articles on the internet that show which suburbs in WA are worse for crime. Halls Head featured in one not long ago. 

But there's no explanation about the methodology for the list, or if the data was per capita or just aggregate numbers. Halls Head is a MASSIVE suburb with around 6000 homes. 

You would expect it to have more crime than neighbouring suburbs, even if it had a relatively low crime rate per dwelling. 


So why does Mandurah have a reputation of a high crime rate if it's not really accurate? 

It's hard to say empirically, but I think it's mainly because of two reasons, which both have to do with its location. 

1. Crime stories in the area get coverage, and good news stories do not. 
2. The word "Mandurah" is always mentioned, no matter what suburb an incident occurs in. 

Allow me to elaborate.

Mandurah is only an hour away from Perth. So if there's a high speed chase that ends in an accident, a drug bust, or anything else that smells like drama, the news crews from Seven, Nine and Ten will be straight here. If a similar incident happened in Albany or Geraldton, there's a good chance it wouldn't even be covered. 

But an hour away is TOO far to travel for a good news story. Those stories aren't as valuable, so media organisations can't justify the expense in sending a camera crew and journos all this way. 

The other reason is because a crime that occurs in almost ANY Mandurah suburb gets reported as occurring in "Mandurah". Mandurah always gets a mention when an incident happens in the area. 

A crime occurring in a Perth suburb only gets reported as happening in the specific suburb. 

So when you hear about a bunch of different crimes in Perth, you're under the impression they have occurred in different locations because the different suburb is named each time. 

Below are 5 articles from Perth Now that all mention incidents that occurred in suburbs OF Mandurah, but the term "Mandurah" is still used to describe their location. 

Now here's five articles from Perth Now that are all about incidents that occurred in suburbs in the City of Wanneroo. But NONE of the articles explain that the suburbs where the incidents occurred are located in Wanneroo. 

If Wanneroo was mentioned EVERY time a crime was reported on in any suburb from the City of Wanneroo, pretty soon Wanneroo would be considered a crime hotspot. 

It's the evil media!

No. The media isn't being deceitful or malicious in constantly mentioning Mandurah. If they only said "Dudley Park" or "Falcon" most of their audience wouldn't know where they're talking about.

But this means the term MANDURAH gets associated with a disproportionate amount of news reports, and that creates the negative association in people's minds. 

Again, this is a phenomena created by our proximity to Perth. We're close enough that things that occur here are newsworthy for Perth residents. But we're far enough way that whichever suburb something occurs in here, the term MANDURAH has to be mentioned. 


So am I saying there's no crime in Mandurah? No. Mandurah has the same problems that everywhere else does.

Is Mandurah one of the worst places? No way. Not by a mile. 

In fact, many of our suburbs boast quite a low burglary rates.

If you were looking for a family friendly place to live, but didn't want to deal with Perth, you can't get better than Mandurah.


Footnotes:

Video: Sussing out the Pet Shops in Mandurah

Video: Sussing out the Pet Shops in Mandurah

Survey: Crime in Mandurah compared to elsewhere