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Burglary: prevalence in Australia and overseas

Crime facts info no. 174

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2008

The International Crime Victimisation Survey (ICVS), which commenced in 1989, uses standardised survey instruments to gather internationally comparative data on criminal victimisation. The most recent survey in 2003-04 reported data from 30 mostly developed countries, including Australia. Burglary was one of the various crime types canvassed in the survey and its prevalence was estimated as the percentage of households that reported being burgled in the 12 months before the survey. In Australia, the prevalence of burglary was estimated at 2.5 percent. This was higher than the international average (1.8%) and placed Australia in the fifth highest position of the 30 countries. Australia was equal with the United States, but lower than England and Wales (3.5%) and New Zealand (3.2%). In addition, the ICVS also provided data on public expectations of victimisation. It estimated that 36 percent of Australians believed that it was likely or very likely their house would be burgled in the forthcoming year; Australia was ranked sixth highest of 30 countries in their expectations of burglary victimisation. Comparisons with the 1999 ICVS revealed that while the prevalence of burglary in Australia has declined (from 3.9% to 2.5%), public expectations of victimisation have remained unchanged (36%).

Prevalence of burglary, Australia and other countries, 2003-04 (percentage)

Source: van Dijk, van Kesteren and Smit (2007), adapted from Table 8