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Regional Qld bearing the brunt of chronic reoffending

Media Release

19 September 2012

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released a new study carried out by researchers at Griffith University on populations and regions where crime and chronic reoffending are most prevalent in Queensland.

The paper, Targeting crime prevention to reduce offending: Identifying communities that generate chronic and costly offenders finds that regional Queensland in particular is carrying the major cost burden of chronic offenders. Almost half of the “high crime cost” postal areas (POAs) were classified by the ABS as regional. The study tracked offenders between 2000 and 2010.

The POAs that incurred the highest cost of chronic offenders was around Toowoomba with the cost estimated at over $14m dollars. The total cost across Queensland came to $135,939,513 over the period.

Remote and very remote postal areas such as on Cape York Peninsular had high proportions of Indigenous young people and high levels of disadvantage. However one of the Very Remote POAs – around the Longreach district had a high proportion of chronic offenders but no officially recorded Indigenous 16 year olds, and was not classified as disadvantaged.

The cost of crime in these areas is considerable.

Co-author Dr Troy Allard said studies like this were important to prevent further crime, when developing policies that addressed locational disadvantage.

“These finding could assist interventions to be developed and targeted in Queensland,” Dr Allard said.

“The identification of communities where there was a high proportion of the population who were chronic offenders and where chronic offenders cost substantial amounts of money should facilitate the place-based targeting of therapeutic interventions, mentoring programs and skill building.

“Policy makers should be under no illusion — these offenders are responsible for sustained and serious crimes — but it is possible, with appropriate evidence-based responses, to reduce offending in these communities and this has the potential to result in considerable community returns on such an investment,” Dr Allard said.

The study was funded through the Criminology Research Grants program.

Contact: Colin Campbell 02 6260 9244/ 0418 159 525