Australian Institute of Criminology

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Economic transformation and regional crime

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 209

Carlos Carcach
ISBN 0 642 24231 3 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2001


This paper, the third in a series devoted to the study of crime in regional Australia, explores the effect that interactions between size, location, economic transformation and social attributes have on local crime rates. Using data for Local Government Areas in the mainland eastern states, this study draws the following conclusions: crime rates are lower in localities that are both residentially and socially stable; factors such as low residential mobility, high average educational level, low income inequality and low unemployment are associated with low local crime rates, but operate differently depending on the population size of local areas and their geographic position relative to major service areas; and crime rates in small and medium sized towns that are near a major service centre are highly sensitive to changes in economic and social conditions. This suggests the possibility of crime being diffused from major urban centres to minor surrounding towns. The study reinforces the need for localised crime control and prevention initiatives.