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4509.1 - Crime and Safety, New South Wales, Apr 2008 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/12/2008   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1. This publication summarises results from the 2008 New South Wales (NSW) Crime and Safety Survey.

2. The survey was conducted during the two weeks commencing Monday 7 April 2008 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Monthly Population Survey (MPS). It was conducted and funded at the request of NSW Police Force and the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

3. Information sought from approximately 3,300 households and about 2,600 (80%) responded.

4. Examination of successive waves of responses did not indicate any serious problem of non-response bias. Estimation procedures were employed to reduce the effect of non-response.

5. For details of the design, scope and coverage of the MPS, readers should refer to Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, 2007 (cat. no. 6269.0), and any recent edition of the monthly ABS publication, Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


CHANGE TO SAMPLE SIZE

6. The 2008 Crime and Safety Survey was conducted using half of the full sample of private dwellings in the MPS. In previous years, the survey was conducted using seven-eighths of the full sample of private dwellings in the MPS. The sample size was changed in 2008 in order to prevent respondents being included in both the 2008 Crime and Safety Survey and the 2008-2009 Multi Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) Crime topic.


SCOPE OF SURVEY

7. The survey was conducted using half of the full sample of private dwellings in the MPS. It excluded:

  • persons aged less than 15 years;
  • members of the permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys;
  • overseas residents in Australia;
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia;
  • private dwellings containing visitors only; and
  • residents of non-private dwellings such as hospitals, motels and prisons.

8. The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas throughout NSW.


COVERAGE

9. Coverage rules were applied which aim to ensure that each person was associated with only one dwelling, and hence had only one chance of selection in the survey.


DATA COLLECTION

10. Crime and Safety questionnaires were mailed out to households who were included in the MPS, and who were in scope for the Crime and Safety survey (see paragraph 7 above). The questionnaires were completed by household members and returned to the ABS by mail. Each household received:
  • one questionnaire containing questions relating to the household as a whole
  • a questionnaire for each person aged 15 years or over relating to their personal experiences of crime
  • a questionnaire for each female aged 18 years or over relating to their personal experiences of sexual assault only.

11. There were two rounds of mail-out reminders for non-responding households, followed by a telephone follow-up interview for a proportion of the remaining non-responding households.


COMPARISON WITH OTHER ABS SURVEYS

12. There are different crime statistics collections and these can yield differing results. Caution should be taken in comparisons across other ABS surveys that address crime and justice issues. An Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia: The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies, Australia (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001) is available. This paper aims to increase community understanding of the nature of crime measurement in Australia, and why the findings from different data sources may differ.


COMPARISON WITH POLICE STATISTICS

13. The terms used for the offences (such as robbery, assault) may not necessarily correspond with the legal or police definitions which are used for each offence. This is because responses obtained in this survey are based on the respondent's perception of their having been the victim of an offence. The definitions of these terms which are used in this survey are based on the wording of the questions asked of the respondent, and can be found in the Glossary of this publication.


BREAK IN TIME SERIES

14. Additional questions about robbery incidents were included in the 1999 and subsequent NSW Crime and Safety Surveys. This has made it possible to collect robbery data that aligns more closely with data collected from the 1998, 2002 and 2005 National Crime and Safety Surveys. This change has caused a break in the time series for robbery estimates published from the NSW Crime and Safety Surveys conducted in 1997 and earlier years. The definition of robbery for the statistics included in this publication can be found in the Glossary. Comparisons with results from the 1998, 2002 and 2005 National Crime and Safety Surveys for all offences should be undertaken with caution. Differences in question wording and processing procedures mean that survey estimates are not directly comparable.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

15. ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, government and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated, for without it the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

16. The ABS produces a wide range of publications containing social and demographic statistics. Other ABS publications which relate to this survey topic include:
17. Information about current publications and other products released by the ABS is available from the statistics page on the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>.


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