SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
This publication presents statistics on incidents of victimisation for a selected range of offences that came to the attention of police and were recorded by them in the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007. Experimental statistics on the Indigenous status of victims of recorded crimes are presented for two states and territories at Appendix 1.
When an incident of crime victimisation occurs, there are a number of ways in which this can be measured and a number of stages where a measurement can be taken, from the time that a person perceives that they have been a victim through to reporting to police and the laying of charges. From among a range of possible ways of measuring crime, there are two major sources of data produced by the ABS that can inform the user about crime victimisation. The first of these is a measure of crimes reported to and recorded by police; and the second is direct reports from members of the public about their experiences of crime as collected in household surveys. Neither of these sources will provide a definitive measure of crime victimisation, but together they provide a more comprehensive picture of victimisation than either measure alone. Both sources have a number of limitations, however, of which users should be aware.
Recorded crime statistics are the result of incidents coming to police attention and a subsequent decision making process carried out by police in accordance with the criminal law. As such they are subject to different legislation, rules of operation and procedures in different jurisdictions. A 'differences in recorded crime' project completed by the ABS in 2005 found that differences between jurisdictions in police recording systems, business rules, procedures and legislation can partly explain differences in recorded crime across states and territories for certain offence types, in addition to changes in the incidence of criminal victimisation. This is particularly so for assault and sexual assault. As a result, this publication does not present national statistics for these two offences although data for states and territories are presented. For further information about differences across jurisdictions refer to paragraphs 27-104 of the Explanatory Notes.
ABS NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMISATION SURVEYS
National level information for assault and sexual assault, as well as data for a range of other offences, are available from the 2005 ABS National Crime and Safety Survey (NCSS) and the 2005 ABS Personal Safety Survey (PSS). The NCSS measured people's perceptions of crime in the community and whether or not the crimes were reported to police. Further detailed information about the survey results can be found in Crime and Safety, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 4509.0). The PSS measured people's experience of violence, harassment or stalking. Further detailed information about the survey results can be found in Personal Safety Survey, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 4906.0). The next NCSS will be conducted in 2008 for the 2008-09 reference period.
Caution should be exercised in making any direct comparisons between recorded crime statistics and data from ABS household surveys due to the different scope and coverage, methods of measurement and sources of error. For more information refer to paragraphs 125-127 of the Explanatory Notes.
Depending on the type of offence, a victim in the recorded crime collection can be a person, a premises, an organisation or a motor vehicle. A person reporting a crime with multiple offences in the same incident may either be counted multiple times, or may be counted only once, depending on the types of offences committed during the incident. For example, a victim who was robbed and abducted in the same incident would be counted separately as a victim under the offences of robbery and kidnapping/abduction. Conversely, a victim of multiple assaults in the same incident would be counted only once as the offences committed fall within the same offence group. For these reasons, it is not meaningful to aggregate the number of victims across each offence type and produce a 'total number of victims'; it is only meaningful to look at victim counts within each offence category.
For further information about the scope and counting methodology of this collection refer to paragraphs 3-10 and 107-114 of the Explanatory Notes.
NUMBER OF VICTIMS
Compared to 2006, the number of victims recorded by Australian state and territory police agencies in 2007 decreased for manslaughter, murder, blackmail/extortion, motor vehicle theft, unlawful entry with intent and other theft (table 1). The offence categories recording the largest declines were manslaughter (down 28%) and murder (down 10%). Conversely, there was an increase in the number of victims of robbery (up 4%).
Selected offences, Percentage change -
2006 to 2007
In 2007, the Australian victimisation rates for selected personal offence categories were:
- Murder, 1.2 victims per 100,000 persons, down from 1.4 victims in 2006
- Attempted murder, 1.2 victims per 100,000 persons, no change from 2006
- Kidnapping/abduction, 3.5 victims per 100,000 persons, no change from 2006
- Robbery, 86 victims per 100,000 persons, up from 84 victims in 2006
- Blackmail/extortion, 2.0 victims per 100,000 persons, down from 2.1 victims in 2006 (table 1)
Note: For robbery and blackmail/extortion, a victim can be a person or an organisation.
Selected household crimes continued a declining trend in victimisation; motor vehicle theft (336 victims per 100,000 persons) had the lowest rate since national reporting began in 1993. In comparison, the rate in 2006 was 364 victims per 100,000 persons. The victimisation rate for other theft (2,342 victims per 100,000 persons) was the lowest since national reporting began for that offence in 1995. In comparison, the rate was 2,506 victims per 100,000 persons in 2006. The victimisation rate for unlawful entry with intent decreased from 1,266 victims per 100,000 persons in 2006 to 1,182 victims per 100,000 persons in 2007.
SEX AND AGE OF VICTIM
In 2007, more males than females were victims of robbery (74% of victims were male), blackmail/extortion (66%), attempted murder (65%) and murder (64%) (table 2). For kidnapping/abduction, more females were victims than males (65%).
Selected offences by sex
Over 40% of victims of murder (109 people) and attempted murder (110 people) were aged 25-44 years. A further 30% of murder victims (76 people) were aged 45 years and over.
In 2007, 37% (267 people) of victims of kidnapping/abduction were aged 0-14 years. A further 33% (242 people) were aged 15-24 years and 15% (107 people) were aged 25-34 years.
More than 45% (7,176 people) of victims of robbery were aged 15-24 years, followed by those aged 25-34 years at 21% (3,342 people).
Almost 30% (110 people) of blackmail/extortion victims during 2007 were aged 45 years and over.
LOCATION OF OFFENCE
Selected offences by age group
Residential locations were the most likely place of occurrence for murder (64%), attempted murder (61%) and unlawful entry with intent (66%) (table 4). For victims of motor vehicle theft, this offence was most likely to have occurred in a community location (46%), followed by a residential location (35%).
Robbery victims were most likely to be subjected to this offence in a community location (60%). Of the total robbery offences occurring in a community location (10,734), more than three quarters (77%) occurred on a street/footpath. More than half of the victims (56%) of kidnapping/abduction were taken from a community location, and a further 29% were taken from a residential location. Other theft mainly occurred in community or retail locations (30% and 29% respectively).
Selected offences occurring by selected locations
In 2007, a weapon was used in 65% of attempted murders, 61% of murders and 43% of robberies (table 5). A knife was the most common type of weapon used in committing these offences. More than two in five (41%) attempted murder victims, 32% of murder victims and 20% of robbery victims were subjected to an offence involving a knife. A firearm was involved in 15% of attempted murder, 13% of murder and 6% of robbery offences. Most (86%) kidnapping/abduction offences and over half (57%) of robbery offences committed did not involve the use of a weapon.
OUTCOME OF INVESTIGATION
Weapon used in commission of offence
In 2007, 76% of the police investigations into attempted murder and 72% for murder were finalised within 30 days of a victim becoming known to police (table 7).
The lowest proportions of finalisations at 30 days were for victims of unlawful entry with intent (12%), motor vehicle theft (15%) and other theft (17%).
Outcome of investigation at 30 days