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4509.0 - Crime and Safety, Australia, Apr 2005  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/04/2006   
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The Crime and Safety survey was ceased in 2005. The collection has been replaced by

Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2010-11, 4530.0


NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents the results of the sixth national Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household survey of crime and safety conducted during April to July 2005. It forms part of the commitment by the ABS to present a comprehensive view of crime and the criminal justice system in Australia.


The ABS publishes data relating to crime from different sources. Different methodologies can affect estimates. For example, instances recorded by police are different from those reported in household surveys. Also, responses in surveys may be affected by the ways in which questions are asked. Some of these measurement issues are discussed in the following: Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia - The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies, 2002 (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001).


A review of Australian crime surveys commenced in 2005. In the first stage of the review, information was collected about user requirements from crime and safety surveys. Further work is underway to confirm and prioritise requirements with respect to content, frequency and geography in the context of developing future crime and safety surveys in Australia. Refer to Explanatory Notes (paragraphs 29-32) for additional information.


Unless otherwise specified, differences between data items noted in the Summary of Findings are statistically significant. See Technical Note (paragraph 12) for further details.



ABOUT THIS SURVEY

The 2005 Crime and Safety Survey was conducted throughout Australia as part of the ABS Monthly Population Survey (MPS). After questions related to the labour force had been asked, the respondent was sent a questionnaire with questions on crime and safety, to be completed and returned by mail to the ABS. The survey asked that incidents of certain crimes be recorded, regardless of whether they had been reported to police.


The survey focused on those categories of more serious crime occurring in the 12 months prior to the survey that affect the largest number of people: household break-in and attempted break-in, motor vehicle theft, assault (including sexual assault for persons aged 18 years and over) and robbery. It measures the extent of crime in our community, including the number of persons and households victimised and the number of crimes reported to police. It also provides information on the socio-economic profile of victims and non-victims, and the characteristics of offences and offenders.


Information was collected from individuals and households about their experience of selected crimes, their perception of problems in their neighbourhood and their feelings of safety. Detailed information was collected about the most recent incident experienced by the victim, including whether the incident was reported to the police and whether the victim was physically injured.



ROUNDING

As estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Marika Woodberry on Melbourne (03) 9615 7601.



SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


PREVALENCE OF CRIME OVERVIEW

Households

There were 7,855,600 households in Australia in April 2005. In the 12 months prior to the survey it was estimated that:

  • 259,800 (3.3%) households were victims of at least one break-in to their home, garage or shed
  • 205,400 (2.6%) households had at least one attempted break-in
  • 427,100 (5.4%) households overall were victims of either a break-in or an attempted break-in
  • 74,800 (1.0%) households had at least one motor vehicle stolen.

In total, 488,200 households were victims of one or more of these selected household crimes, equating to an overall household victimisation prevalence rate of 6.2%.


Persons aged 15 years and over

In April 2005, there were 15,966,900 persons aged 15 years and over living in private dwellings in Australia. In the 12 months prior to the survey it was estimated that:

  • 58,900 (0.4%) persons were victims of at least one robbery
  • 770,600 (4.8%) persons were victims of at least one assault
  • 44,100 (0.3%) persons aged 18 years and over were victims of at least one sexual assault.

In total 841,500 persons aged 15 years and over were victims of one or more of these selected personal crimes, equating to an overall personal victimisation prevalence rate of 5.3%.


Changes in victimisation rates over time

In 2005 the victimisation prevalence rate for household crime was 6.2%, compared to 8.9% in 2002. Comparisons with 2002 for all selected types of household crime showed statistically significant decreases in the prevalence rates for:

  • break-in, where the victimisation rate in 2005 was 3.3% compared with 4.7% in 2002
  • attempted break-in, where the victimisation rate in 2005 was 2.6% compared with 3.4% in 2002
  • motor vehicle theft, where the victimisation rate in 2005 was 1.0% compared with 1.8% in 2002.

For personal crime, the victimisation prevalence rate for 2005 remained unchanged from the 2002 figure of 5.3%.

CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES
Graph: CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES




STATES AND TERRITORIES

Household experience of crime varied across states and territories. The lowest levels of household victimisation were experienced in Tasmania and Victoria, 4.5% and 4.6% respectively. The highest level of victimisation occurred in the Northern Territory, where an estimated 13% of households experienced at least one of the selected household crimes in the 12 months prior to the survey.


Household crime victimisation prevalence rates decreased in all states and territories from 2002 to 2005, except for the Australian Capital Territory where the recorded decrease was not statistically significant.

HOUSEHOLD CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES
Graph: HOUSEHOLD CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES



The experience of individuals also varied across states and territories, with victimisation prevalence rates ranging from 4.5% in Victoria to 6.6% in the Northern Territory.


Personal crime victimisation prevalence rates varied only slightly in most states and territories between the 2002 and 2005 surveys. Changes in the rate occurred in:

  • Victoria, where it fell to 4.5% in 2005 from 5.2% in 2002
  • Queensland, where it increased to 6.1% in 2005 from 4.7% in 2002.

While the Northern Territory showed a decrease in the prevalence rate to 6.6% in 2005 from 8.1% in 2002, this change was not statistically significant.

PERSONAL CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES
Graph: PERSONAL CRIME VICTIMISATION RATES




HOUSEHOLD CRIME

Break-in

In 2005 there were an estimated 346,600 incidents of break-in during the 12 months prior to the survey, with 80% of victim households experiencing only one incident.


The break-in victimisation prevalence rate for Australia decreased to 3.3% in 2005 from 4.7% in 2002. Break-in victimisation prevalence rates decreased for all states and territories between 2002 and 2005, except for the Australian Capital Territory where the recorded decrease was not statistically significant. Notable decreases in the victimisation rate occurred in:

  • Tasmania (2.1% in 2005 compared with 5.2% in 2002)
  • Northern Territory (7.4% in 2005 compared with 13.5% in 2002)
BREAK-IN VICTIMISATION RATES
Graph: BREAK-IN VICTIMISATION RATES



Rental homes had a significantly higher break-in victimisation rate (4.7%) than homes that were owned or being purchased (2.9%).


Attempted break-in

In 2005 there were an estimated 317,800 incidents of attempted break-in during the 12 months prior to the survey.


The attempted break-in victimisation prevalence rate for Australia decreased to 2.6% in 2005 from 3.4% in 2002. Across the states and territories, decreases occurred in:

  • New South Wales (2.7% in 2005 compared with 3.7% in 2002)
  • Queensland (2.9% in 2005 compared with 3.8% in 2002)
  • Western Australia (3.0% in 2005 compared with 4.4% in 2002)
  • Tasmania (2.1% in 2005 compared with 3.3% in 2002).

For all other states and territories, the changes were not statistically significant.


Rental homes had a significantly higher attempted break-in victimisation rate (4.1%) than homes that were owned or being purchased (2.1%).


Motor vehicle theft

In 2005 there were an estimated 85,200 incidents of motor vehicle theft recorded.


The motor vehicle theft victimisation prevalence rate for Australia decreased to 1.0% in 2005 from 1.8% in 2002, with statistically significant decreases in the victimisation rate occurring in:

  • New South Wales (1.1% in 2005 compared with 2.1% in 2002)
  • Victoria (0.7% in 2005 compared with 2.0% in 2002)
  • Queensland (0.8% in 2005 compared with 1.3% in 2002).

For all other states and territories, the changes were not statistically significant.



PERSONAL CRIME

Robbery

There were an estimated 91,400 incidents of robbery in the 12 months prior to the survey, with 68% of victims experiencing only one incident. The robbery victimisation prevalence rate for Australia decreased to 0.4% in 2005 from 0.6% in 2002.


For most states and territories, there was little change in robbery victimisation prevalence rates between 2002 and 2005. Statistically significant decreases in robbery victimisation rates did however occur in:

  • New South Wales (0.4% in 2005 compared with 1.0% in 2002)
  • Victoria (0.2% in 2005 compared with 0.5% in 2002).

For all other states and territories, the changes were not statistically significant.


Young people were victims of robbery more often than older people, with victimisation prevalence rates of 1.2% for people aged 15 to 19 years and 0.8% for people aged 20 to 24 years, compared to a rate of 0.1% for people aged 65 years and over (Table 7).


Some 44,000 or 75% of robbery victims were male. In addition, the victimisation prevalence rate for robbery was:

  • higher for unmarried persons (0.7%) than for married persons (0.1%)
  • higher for people born in Australia (0.4%) than for those born overseas (0.2%).

More than two thirds of victims (40,800 or 69%) indicated that no weapon was used in the most recent robbery and 38,400 or 65% of victims were not injured.


Robberies occurred in a variety of locations, with 21,300 or 36% of victims reporting that the most recent incident had occurred in the street or in other open land, while the victim's home (10,300 or 18%) was the next most often reported location.


Other key findings pertaining to robbery victimisation included:

  • 46,700 (79%) victims indicated that the offenders in the most recent incident were male
  • 31,300 (53%) victims indicated that there were two or more offenders in the most recent incident
  • 39,900 (68%) victims indicated that they did not know the offender (or any of the offenders) in the most recent incident.

Assault

An estimated 2,613,400 incidents of assault occurred in the 12 months prior to the survey. Of the 770,600 victims, just over half (52%) indicated that they had experienced more than one assault.


Assault victimisation rates for most states and territories remained relatively stable from 2002 to 2005. Changes of note were:

  • a decrease in Victoria to 4.1% in 2005 from 4.7% in 2002
  • an increase in Queensland to 5.7% in 2005 from 4.4% in 2002.

Reported decreases in Tasmania (4.4% in 2005 compared with 5.0% in 2002) and the Northern Territory (5.9% in 2005 compared with 7.8% in 2002) were not statistically significant.

ASSAULT VICTIMISATION RATES
Graph: ASSAULT VICTIMISATION RATES



Young people were victims of assault more often than older people, with victimisation rates of 9.9% for people aged 15 to 19 years and 7.9% for people aged 20 to 24 years, compared to rates of 2.3% for people aged 55 to 64 years and 0.8% for people aged 65 years and over (Table 11).


Some 412,600 or 54% of assault victims were male. In addition, the victimisation prevalence rate for assault was:

  • higher for unmarried persons (7.2%) than for married persons (3.3%)
  • higher for unemployed persons (9.8%) than for employed persons (5.5%)
  • higher for persons born in Australia (5.3%) than for those born overseas (3.4%).

Some 677,700 or 88% of assault victims reported that no weapon was used in the most recent incident, and 590,400 or 77% of victims were not injured in the most recent incident.


The location of the most recent assault was most commonly the victim's home (31%), significantly more so for females (42%) than for males (22%).


Nearly three-quarters (73%) of victims indicated that there was a single offender and 77% indicated that the offender was male in the most recent incident. An estimated 483,800 or 63% of victims knew the offender (or at least one of the offenders) in the most recent assault.


Some form of support was sought by 91% of assault victims after the most recent incident, most commonly a family member (61%) and/or a friend or neighbour (57%).


Sexual assault

In 2005, there were an estimated 44,100 persons aged 18 years and over who were victims of at least one sexual assault in the 12 months prior to the survey; a victimisation prevalence rate of 0.3%. Approximately 72,000 incidents of sexual assault were experienced by these victims. For information specific to the quality and extent of sexual assault data collected in 2005, see paragraph 23 of the Explanatory Notes.



REPORTING TO POLICE

The proportion of victims that reported the most recent incident to police varied depending on the type of offence:

  • 74% for household victims of break-in
  • 31% for household victims of attempted break-in
  • 90% for household victims of motor vehicle theft
  • 38% for victims of robbery
  • 31% for victims of assault.
REPORTING RATES(a)
Graph: REPORTING RATES(a)



Common reasons given for not reporting the most recent break-in to police included:
  • that there was nothing the police could do (31%), and
  • that the incident was too trivial or unimportant (20%).

For victims of break-in, while decreases in reporting rates between 2002 and 2005 were recorded in Queensland (66% in 2005 compared with 75% in 2002) and South Australia (73% in 2005 compared with 81% in 2002), these decreases were not statistically significant.

BREAK-IN, REPORTING RATES
Graph: BREAK-IN, REPORTING RATES



For victims of robbery, the most common reason for not reporting the incident was that there was nothing the police could do (48%).


For assault victims, common reasons for not telling the police were:

  • that the incident was too trivial or unimportant (31%), and
  • that the victim considered it a personal matter or would take care of it themselves (23%).

For victims of assault, only Victoria showed a statistically significant change in the reporting rate between 2002 and 2005, with the rate increasing to 32% in 2005 from 24% in 2002. While the Northern Territory showed a decrease in the reporting rate (36% in 2005 compared with 46% in 2002), this decrease was not statistically significant.

ASSAULT, REPORTING RATES
Graph: ASSAULT, REPORTING RATES




FEELINGS OF SAFETY

Approximately 82% of persons felt safe or very safe when at home alone during the day, compared with 72% feeling this way after dark. Conversely, 4.0% of persons felt unsafe or very unsafe when at home alone during the day, compared with 8.3% at home alone after dark.


Across the states and territories there were only slight variations in feelings of safety. The proportion of persons feeling safe or very safe during the day ranged from 80% in South Australia and Western Australia to 85% in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Similarly, the proportion of persons feeling safe or very safe after dark ranged from 69% in South Australia and Western Australia to 76% in Tasmania.


Perceptions of safety varied between males and females, particularly after dark, when 80% of males compared with 64% of females felt safe or very safe when at home alone. Feelings of safety also varied according to age, with 84% of persons aged 15 to 19 years and 83% of persons aged 20 to 24 years feeling safe or very safe when at home alone during the day, compared to 78% of persons aged 65 years and over.

FEELINGS OF SAFETY AT HOME ALONE
Graph: FEELINGS OF SAFETY AT HOME ALONE




PERCEIVED NEIGHBOURHOOD PROBLEMS

Overall, around 70% of persons aged 15 years and over perceived that there were problems from crime and/or public nuisance in their neighbourhoods. There was some variation in perceptions across states and territories, with the proportion of persons who perceived problems in their neighbourhood varying from 76% in South Australia to 64% in Tasmania. The most commonly perceived problem was dangerous/noisy driving (40% perceived this as a problem). Other commonly perceived problems were housebreaking/burglaries/theft from homes (33%) and vandalism/graffiti/damage to property (25%).

NEIGHBOURHOOD PROBLEMS
Graph: NEIGHBOURHOOD PROBLEMS


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