The main dangers that an overseas visitor to Perth faces are sunburn and dehydration. Make sure you cover yourself with SPF 30+ sunscreen and a hat, and preferably a shirt and keep a bottle of water with you, especially in the warmer months. Also be wary of dehydration in the hot weather. An insect repellent such as 'Aeroguard' will be useful on summer evenings if you are outdoors.
Otherwise, Perth is relatively safe, though it's best not to walk alone at night. Some areas such as Northbridge are also known to be 'trouble spots' on weekend nights and tourists should be careful. Perth citizens (as with most Australians) almost never carry firearms or other weaponry, therefore it is logical to avoid people and places whenever such things are observed and advise the local police service when safe to do so. Overall Perth is becoming safer, due to small alleyways and other niche problem zones being refurbished and unsuitable for loiterers.
Police are generally friendly and approachable. To contact the police, ambulance or fire brigade emergency service is "000" on the phone for emergencies. "131 444" is the recommended number for 24/7 Police assistance and general enquiries.
Trains are generally safe with transit guards travelling in pairs, patrolling most scheduled trains after peak hour. All train stations have a time to next train as well as an emergency button which can be used to call transit guards should the need arise. All stations have live monitored cameras and these can be activated by the simple push of the emergency button. In the train, there are "talk to driver" buttons in every carriage, but some older trains do not have them on every door. From 2011 the Armadale Train line especially in the areas of Burswood and Carlisle has had some high profile assaults from gangs travelling on the train system . The gangs usually comprise disaffected Indigenous youth and although weapons are not usually involved attacks have become more vicious in their nature.
The bus network while generally safe, but after hours can be a little more dangerous than the train network, with extremely limited security patrols, and buses coming under increasing attacks by people throwing rocks and other anti social behaviour. Some bus stations (like Mirrabooka bus station and the associated buses) should be avoided where possible due to gangs of youths and other anti-social behaviour. If you have to travel by bus at night, sit as close to the driver as possible and if a problem develops, tell the driver. Often incidents on buses continue for much longer than they should because no one asks the bus driver for assistance.
Exercise caution when crossing the road at zebra crossings, walking along the footpath at the entry/exit point of parking lots or when crossing the street at a T-intersection. Though pedestrians have the legal right of way, some motorists choose to ignore this rule. In the case of a zebra crossing, cars should slow down for you though caution is advisable. If you do not notice a car slowing down, do not begin to cross. It is usually best to follow the lead of the locals and to move as a group.
Driving in Perth can be straightforward as its highways tend to connect at various nodes making navigation easy. However, avoid travelling during business rush hour (between 7-9AM and 4-6PM), particularly in summer or hot days. Many of Perth's major roads were not designed for the volume of traffic currently experienced with recent high population growth. Perth drivers are increasingly known for being inconsiderate to other drivers on the roads during these times, which has also caused increased delays due to accidents.
The wiser solution is to take public transport such as the train or bus system. If you are driving or a passenger in a taxi or a local residents car, it is recommended to relax and not allow it to affect you or your holiday. Most Perth citizens work long hours and wish to get home quickly away from the heat and traffic so therefore their behaviour is not personal and while it is often aggressive, it is seldom reckless. Travelling outside of these hours and on weekends is typically low hassles. It is likely these problems will increase over the next few years from 2012, as major roads are being upgraded and/or expanded to cope with increased volumes with new infrastructure projects, especially around the airport domestic and international.
There are a few rules to take care of while driving in Western Australia. When stopped at a train crossing, do not proceed until the flashing lights have stopped even if the boom gate has fully lifted as fines are issued. There is a lower tolerance towards speeding so even a small excess over the road limit may warrant in an infringement and or fine. It is not mandatory or always observed, however it is polite to keep a gap at an unmarked road crossing when stuck in traffic to allow access for turning vehicles. If you have noticed the lane next to you leave a gap in these places, it is polite do the same. It is always wise to take great care during merging traffic lanes, especially during rush hour (as per the above paragraph). Buses do have right of way when entering traffic and occasionally often pull out with little warning.
Australians are allowed to overtake on the inside lane, so drivers should be aware of this to avoid any potential alarm.
In recent months, ATM's have been set on fire, and even blown up, in an attempt to steal cash from the machines. These attacks usually occur in the early hours of the morning, usually around 4 or 5 AM. If you do happen to be using a machine and see gas cylinders or strange looking devices attached to, or positioned near, the machine, move as far away from the machine as possible and contact the police imminently.
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