Australian Institute of Criminology

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Recorded crime

Crimes known to police

Figure 3 shows the number of victims of criminal incidents recorded by police in 1999 for the following seven categories of major offences:

  • homicide;
  • assault;
  • sexual assault;
  • robbery;
  • unlawful entry with intent;
  • motor vehicle theft; and
  • other theft.

Figure 3 : Number of victims of crimes recorded by police, 1999

Figure 3

  • Of these selected crime categories, 'other theft' (which includes offences such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching and shoplifting) continued to be the most commonly recorded crime, accounting for 46% of total victims (1998: 43%).
  • The next most common offence was unlawful entry with intent, accounting for 31%, followed by assault and motor vehicle theft, both at 10%.
  • Together, the selected property theft offences accounted for 87% of the seven major crimes.
  • Assault continued to be the most commonly recorded violent crime.

Figure 4 : Percentage change in the number of victims of crime recorded by police, 1999 compared to 1998

Figure 4
  • Homicide recorded the largest percentage change in the number of recorded victims between 1998 and 1999. In 1999 there were 381 recorded victims of homicide compared to 332 in 1998, an increase of 15%.
  • The 8% increase in victims of other theft between 1998 and 1999 represents an additional 46 794 recorded victims over this period.
  • The largest percentage decrease in victim numbers was recorded for robbery (5%). In 1998 there were 23 801 recorded victims of robbery compared to 22 590 victims in 1999.

Violent Crime

'Violent crime' comprises homicide, assault, sexual assault and robbery.

Figure 5 : Violent crimes recorded by police, 1993-99 : rate per 100 000 population

Figure 5
  • The number of victims of assault increased at an average rate of 4.6% each year between 1995 and 1998, however, the rate of assault has remained relatively stable since 1998.
  • The rate of robbery remained relatively constant between 1993 and 1996 before increasing significantly in 1997 and peaking in 1998. The rate of robbery declined from 127.1 in 1998 to 119.1 in 1999.
  • The rate of both homicide and sexual assault has remained relatively stable over the six years.

Property crime

'Property crime' comprises unlawful entry with intent, motor vehicle theft and other theft.

Figure 6 : Property crimes recorded by police, 1993-99 : rate per 100 000 population

Figure 6
  • Since 1995, the number of victims of other theft has been gradually increasing at a rate of 4.5% each year.
  • The rate of unlawful entry with intent declined in 1999 after a period of gradual increase between 1994 and 1998.
  • The rate of motor vehicle theft has remained relatively stable over the six-year period despite the observed decline in the number of victims in 1999.

Location of crime

Table 3 and Table 4 list the number of offences that occurred within each type of location, for each of the seven selected crime categories. Locations are classified according to the function of the site where a criminal incident occurred, as follows:

  • residential location (e.g. houses, garages/carports, motels and hostels);
  • community location (e.g. car parks, transport facilities, street/footpaths and schools); and
  • other location (e.g. retail premises, recreational facilities, government offices and warehousing/storage).
Table 3 : Number of violent crimes recorded by police, by location where incident occurred, 1999
Location of crimeCrime
HomicideAssaultSexual assaultRobbery
* The definition of a dwelling excludes land and other structures (e.g.driveways) which lie within the curtilage of a residential location. Such locations are classified as 'other residential'.
Residential
Dwelling*19647 5278 7931 437
Other residential405 046307141
Community
Street/footpath4631 2701 1508 155
Other community4419 5701 7963 777
Other
Retail1011 7304286 240
Recreational1113 1607301 306
Other location182 6632441 000
Unspecified162 636626534
Table 4 : Number of property crimes recorded by police, by location where incident occurred, 1999
Location of crimeCrime
Unlawful entry with intentMotor vehicle assaultOther theft
* The definition of a dwelling excludes land and other structures (e.g.driveways) which lie within the curtilage of a residential location. Such locations are classified as 'other residential'.
Residential
Dwelling *247 081064 253
Other residential26 78625 15388 955
Community
Street/footpath3 35650 833109 981
Other community33 06525 853100 733
Other
Retail50 54216 483146 303
Recreational11 3993 04532 200
Other location35 2213 34836 544
Unspecified8 1505 15031 307

Figure 8 : Violent crimes by location* where incident occurred, 1999



Figure 8

* Excludes unspecified location (n=3 812)

Figure 9 : Property crimes by location* where incident occurred, 1999



Figure 9

* Excludes unspecified location (n=44 607)
  • Thirty-eight per cent of violent crimes and 41% of property offences occurred in residential locations, primarily dwellings.
  • The crimes most likely to occur in a dwelling were homicide (54%), sexual assault (65%), assault (36%) and unlawful entry with intent (61%).
  • Violent crimes were more likely to occur in a community location (39%) than property crimes (29%). Twenty-four per cent of violent crimes occurred on a street/footpath compared to 15% of property crimes.
  • Motor vehicle theft (61%), robbery (54%), assault (39%) and other theft (36%) were the offences most likely to be committed in a community location.
  • Other locations accounted for the location of 23% of violent crimes and 30% of property crimes. In particular, 11% of violent crimes and 19% of property crimes occurred in a retail location.
  • About one-quarter of robbery offences and other theft offences occurred in a retail location in 1999.

Sources: References 2, 6 and 7.