Australian Institute of Criminology

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Farm crime in Australia

Crime facts info no. 119

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2006

The 2003 farm crime survey, funded by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department and conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology, focused on the types of crimes that affect farming operations. Common examples of such crimes include theft of livestock, produce, machinery or other property; farmhouse burglary; vandalism or sabotage; and illegal hunting or fishing. Seventeen percent of all farms reported experiencing farm crime at least once in the 12 months leading up to the survey. The study found that farms in very remote locations and highly accessible farms close to regional or urban centres were more likely than average to experience victimisation. Highly accessible farms were more likely to experience theft of farm machinery, vehicles or tools, or burglary, whereas very remote farms experienced the highest levels of livestock theft, illegal hunting and fishing, theft of materials, and illegal dumping of waste. The map below shows farm crime victimisation by postcode. It indicates medium to high levels of farm victimisation in the relatively closely settled parts of Australia, such as the southeastern seaboard, and around Perth. These are areas with large numbers of productive, often intensive farms and proximity to urban areas. Remote areas are also shown to experience high levels of farm crime, though with great variability. Some remote area postcodes appear to experience very high farm victimisation, while in others farm crime seems negligible. This variability may be the result of the very small number of farms in many of these postcodes.

Percentage of farms experiencing crime, by postcode, 2003

  • Anderson K & McCall M 2005. Farm crime in Australia. Canberra: Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.