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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> National crime statistics

NATIONAL CRIME STATISTICS

National crime statistics aim to provide indicators of the level and nature of crime victimisation in Australia and a basis for assessing change over time. When an incident of crime victimisation occurs, there are a number of ways in which this can be measured and a number of stages where a measurement can be taken; from the time that a person perceives they have been a victim through to reporting to police and the laying of charges. From among a range of possible ways of measuring crime, there are two major sources of statistics produced by the ABS that can inform the user about crime victimisation. The first of these is a measure of crimes reported to and recorded by police; the second is direct reports from members of the public about their experiences of crime as collected in household surveys conducted by the ABS. Neither of these sources will provide a definitive measure of crime victimisation, but together they provide a more comprehensive picture of victimisation than either measure alone. Both sources have a number of limitations, however, of which users should be aware.

Recorded crime statistics are the result of incidents coming to police attention and a subsequent decision-making process carried out by police in accordance with the criminal law. As such they are subject to different legislation, rules of operation and procedures in different jurisdictions. Fluctuations in recorded crime may also be a reflection of changes in community attitudes to reporting crime rather than a change in the incidence of criminal behaviour.

A complementary picture of the nature and extent of crime comes from crime victimisation surveys. One of the primary reasons for conducting victimisation surveys is that many victims of crime do not report their experiences to the police, and therefore are not counted in police data. Victimisation surveys provide information about the broader community experience of crime, including the volume of crime that is not officially recorded. Crime victimisation surveys are suitable for measuring crimes against individuals (or households) who are aware of and recall the incident and how it happened, and who are willing to relate what they know. These surveys allow crime information to be related to personal and household characteristics, and facilitate the study of patterns of victimisation over time and across crime categories. Not all types of crime are suitable for measurement by household surveys. No reliable victim-based information can be obtained about crimes where there is no specific victim (e.g. trafficking in narcotics) or where the victim is deceased (e.g. murder). Crimes of which the victim may not be aware cannot be measured effectively; some instances of fraud and many types of attempted crimes fall into this category. The results from the latest Crime Victimisation Survey, conducted by the ABS from July 2008 to June 2009, were not available at the time of writing.

In addition to the now annual ABS crime victimisation survey, the ABS from time to time may conduct more in-depth surveys about particular aspects of crime victimisation that are of a more sensitive nature, for example, violence. Different methodologies may be used in these instances which may yield differing results to other ABS crime victimisation collections. For more information on comparisons with other surveys, refer to Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia -The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies, 2002 (4522.0.55.001).


Crimes recorded by police

The ABS recorded crime victims collection produces national statistics on incidents of victimisation for a selected range of household and personal offences that come to the attention of state and territory police during a calendar year. The collection includes information about the characteristics of the victim and the nature of the criminal incidents.

Compared to 2007, the number of victims recorded by Australian state and territory police agencies in 2008 decreased for robbery, attempted murder and motor vehicle theft, as well as for unlawful entry with intent and blackmail/extortion. The offence categories recording the largest declines were robbery (down 8% or 1,488 victims) and attempted murder (down 6% or 15 victims). Conversely, there was an increase in the number of victims of kidnapping/abduction and manslaughter (both up 7% or 49 victims and 2 victims respectively). Murder and other theft also increased during this period (table 13.4).

13.4 VICTIMS(a), By selected offences

2007
2008
no.
no.

Murder
255
260
Attempted murder
246
231
Manslaughter
28
30
Kidnapping/abduction(b)
733
782
Robbery
17 996
16 508
Armed robbery
7 657
6 716
Unarmed robbery
10 339
9 792
Blackmail/extortion(c)
424
418
Unlawful entry with intent
248 475
241 690
Property theft
173 374
168 936
Other
75 101
72 754
Motor vehicle theft(d)
70 614
68 270
Other theft
491 935
496 697

(a) As recorded by police in all jurisdictions. Depending on the type of offence recorded, a victim may be a person, a premise, an organisation or a motor vehicle.
(b) Counts for New South Wales may be inflated slightly due to the inclusion of 'deprivation of liberty' which is out of scope of this collection.
(c) May include instances of food tampering in South Australia.
(d) Western Australia data includes theft of caravans and trailers.
Source: ABS Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (4510.0).


Graph 13.5 shows the percentage change between 2007 and 2008 in the number of victims of selected offences.

13.5 VICTIMS, Selected Offences(a), Percentage change - 2007 to 2008 - 2007-08
Graph: 13.5 VICTIMS, Selected Offences(a), Percentage change—2007 to 2008—2007–08


In 2008, the Australian person victimisation rates for selected personal offence categories were:
  • Murder, 1.2 victims per 100,000 persons
  • Attempted murder, 1.1 victims per 100,000 persons
  • Kidnapping/abduction, 3.6 victims per 100,000 persons
  • Robbery, 67 victims per 100,000 persons
  • Blackmail/extortion, 1.9 victims per 100,000 persons (table 13.6).

Some household crimes continued a declining trend in victimisation. Motor vehicle theft (319 victims per 100,000 persons) had the lowest rate since national reporting began in 1993 (637 victims per 100,000 persons). The victimisation rate for unlawful entry with intent decreased from 1,182 victims per 100,000 in 2007 to 1,131 victims per 100,000 persons in 2008.


Age and sex of victims

During 2008, males were more likely to be a victim of murder than females, with 1.5 victims per 100,000 males compared to 0.9 victims per 100,000 females. The largest difference was in the 15 to 19 year age group, where males were four times more likely to be victims of murder than females. The only age group where females had a higher victimisation rate than males was for those aged 65 years and over.

Females were more likely to be victims of kidnapping/abduction than males. The age group with the highest victimisation rate for females was 10 to 14 year olds (18 victims per 100,000 females), followed by 15 to 19 year olds (13 victims per 100,000 females).

The offence which had the highest victimisation rate for all persons was robbery, with the 15 to 19 year old age group recording the largest rate (243 victims per 100,000 persons). Males were over four times more likely to be victims of robbery between the ages of 15 and 19 than females (table 13.6).

13.6 VICTIMISATION RATES OF SELECTED CRIMES(a)(b) -2007-08

Offence category

Age group (years)
Murder
Attempted murder
Kidnapping/abduction
Robbery(c)
Blackmail/extortion(c)

MALES

0-9
0.8
0.7
4.0
1.4
0.2
10-14
0.4
-
9.9
83.2
-
15-19
1.7
1.5
6.4
384.5
2.4
20-24
1.9
3.4
5.2
309.3
4.1
25-34
2.0
2.8
2.7
146.3
3.5
35-44
1.6
2.5
1.5
65.8
4.1
45-54
2.6
1.6
0.9
50.4
3.1
55-64
1.5
0.5
0.5
30.8
2.0
65 and over
0.6
0.5
-
14.7
1.4
Total(d)
1.5
1.5
2.8
98.6
2.4

FEMALES

0-9
0.5
0.3
5.7
0.7
0.3
10-14
0.4
0.4
18.2
20.0
-
15-19
0.4
0.6
13.0
93.1
2.2
20-24
1.3
1.3
8.3
95.4
2.7
25-34
1.4
1.3
4.4
57.5
1.8
35-44
1.5
0.8
2.0
29.9
1.8
45-54
0.8
-
0.6
27.1
1.4
55-64
0.5
-
0.6
19.4
1.2
65 and over
1.0
0.3
-
13.2
0.2
Total(d)
0.9
0.6
4.4
34.5
1.3

PERSONS(e)

0-9
0.6
0.5
4.8
1.1
0.3
10-14
0.4
0.2
13.9
52.4
-
15-19
1.1
1.0
9.6
243.0
2.3
20-24
1.6
2.4
6.7
204.9
3.4
25-34
1.7
2.1
3.5
102.5
2.7
35-44
1.5
1.6
1.7
47.9
2.9
45-54
1.7
0.8
0.7
38.9
2.2
55-64
1.0
0.2
0.5
25.1
1.6
65 and over
0.8
0.4
-
14.0
0.7
Total(d)
1.2
1.1
3.6
66.6
1.9

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Victims per 100,000 persons.
(b) As recorded by police in all jurisdictions.
(c) Refers to person victims only and therefore does not include organisations as victims.
(d) Includes victims for whom age was not specified.
(e) Includes victims for whom sex was not specified.
Source: ABS Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (4510.0).



Weapons used against victims of crime

In 2008, a weapon was used in 79% of attempted murders, 67% of murders and 41% of robberies. A knife was the most common type of weapon used in committing these offences; 31% of attempted murder, 34% of murder, and 19% of robbery victims were subjected to an offence using a knife.

A firearm was involved in nearly a third (30%) of attempted murders, 12% of murders and 6% of robbery offences.

Just over half (53%) of kidnapping/abduction and robbery (59%) offences committed did not involve the use of a weapon (table 13.7).

13.7 VICTIMS(a), By use of weapon in commission of selected offences-2008

Murder
Attempted murder
Kidnapping/abduction
Robbery(b)

Weapon used
Firearm
31
71
24
1 047
Knife
87
73
55
3 218
Syringe
-
-
3
178
Bottle/glass
3
-
-
245
Bat/bar/club
3
4
-
501
Chemical
3
3
-
19
Other weapon
35
28
19
922
Total(c)
173
183
101
6 716
No weapon used
85
57
412
9 736
Unspecified(d)
-
3
269
56
Total
258
233
782
16 508

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) As recorded by police in all jurisdictions.
(b) A victim may be a person or an organisation.
(c) Includes weapon use not further defined.
(d) Includes unknown or not stated weapon use.
Source: ABS Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (4510.0).
Note: Discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals across tables due to rounding and to protect confidentiality.







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