Australian Institute of Criminology

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Other theft

Estimating the number of thefts

The category of ‘other theft’ for the purposes of this report includes all thefts that have not been previously included in this report. The principal category of other theft relates to theft from a person without the threat or use of force or violence (ABS 2012b). In 2011, ABS recorded crime statistics showed that there were 487,573 victims of other theft (ABS 2012b), although this figure includes both theft from a vehicle and shop theft, which have previously been canvassed in this report. As a result, the number of victims of other theft was reduced by the incidents of theft from a vehicle and shop theft to an estimated 269,000.

The multiplier for other theft is adapted from the 2005 UK costs of crime study, where a number of subcategories of other theft are discussed (Dubourg, Hamed & Thorns 2005). These subcategories include theft from a person, theft of a bicycle and other theft, which all fall under the ABS definition of other theft. Using the recorded and estimated offence totals provided by Dubourg, Hamed & Thorns 2005), a multiplier of 3.0 was calculated for other theft. After applying the multiplier, an estimated 807,117 incidents of other theft occurred in Australia in 2011.

Estimating property loss

Dubourg, Hamed and Thorns (2005) combined the previously mentioned subcategories of other theft when estimating the value of property lost. They estimated a cost for the value of property stolen and property damaged or destroyed, taking into account the value of property recovered. Adjusting their figures to 2011 prices and converting them to Australian dollars using PPPs, the cost per incident was $511. Overall, the total property loss is estimated to be $412m (see Table 23).

Lost output

The cost of lost output for other theft was derived using the calculations of Dubourg, Hamed and Thorns (2005), adjusted for inflation and converted using the OECD PPPs. The per incident cost across all incidents was $9.00. In total, the estimated cost of lost output arising from other theft was $7m.

Intangible losses

The UK Home Office (2011) recently revised the multipliers and unit costs of crime that Dubourg, Hamed and Thorns (2005) had prepared. The physical and emotional costs of other theft were revised to account for changes in nominal GDP per capita, while all other costs were only increased to account for changes in inflation (Home Office 2011). In Australian dollars for 2011, the revised estimate for intangible losses was $231 per incident. Overall, intangible losses cost $187m for other theft (see Table 23).

Total costs

The total cost of other theft in Australia for 2011 was $605m, of which the largest component was property loss estimated to cost $413m.

Table 23 Estimates of the costs of other theft
Cost estimate
Value of property stolen ($) 499
Value of property damaged/destroyed ($) 49
Less value of property recovered ($) 37
Value of theft per-incident ($) 511
Total property loss ($m) 412
Lost output per incident ($) 9
Total lost output ($m) 7
Intangible losses per incident ($) 231
Total intangible losses ($m) 186
Total loss per incident ($) 750
Total loss ($m) 605