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4526.5.55.001 - Home Safety and Security, Western Australia, Oct 2004  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/04/2005   
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NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION


This publication contains results from the Home Safety and Security Survey conducted in Western Australia (WA) in October 2004. It presents information on safety measures, security features, break-ins and attempted break-ins in Western Australian households. The topics covered include whether smoke alarms are installed, whether the dwelling has security features installed (e.g. security screens, door deadlocks, window locks, security alarm) and whether the household experienced a break-in or attempted break-in. For households which have experienced a break-in or attempted break-in, information is also presented on the security features of the household and characteristics of that event (e.g. point of entry, whether point of entry was locked, whether the incident was reported to police).


ABOUT THE SURVEY


The survey was conducted as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Monthly Population Survey (MPS). Please refer to the Explanatory Notes at the back of this publication for further details about this survey.



Inquiries


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Carolann Hoad on Perth (08) 9360 5947.



SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


SAFETY MEASURES


Smoke alarms

There were an estimated 548,200 WA households (70%) with working smoke alarms installed in October 2004. A higher proportion of separate houses (71%) had smoke alarms installed compared with flats, units or apartments (55%). The proportion of semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses with working smoke alarms installed was 68%.

Publicly rented households (90%) were more likely to have working smoke alarms installed compared with those households that were privately rented (56%). Some 73% of households that were fully owned or being purchased had working smoke alarms installed.

Couple with children households were more likely to have working smoke alarms installed (78%), compared with couple only households (74%), lone parent households (61%) and lone person households (60%).

The majority of WA households with working smoke alarms had only battery-powered smoke alarms installed (70%). A further quarter of WA households (25%) had only smoke alarms that used mains electricity (with battery back-up) as their power source. The majority of publicly rented households with working smoke alarms installed had only those powered by mains electricity with battery back-up (62%). The majority of households that were fully owned or being purchased or those that were privately rented had only battery-powered smoke alarms (72% and 76% respectively).

There were an estimated 461,500 WA households that had working smoke alarms installed that were at least 12 months old in October 2004. Of these, nearly four-fifths (79%) of households had tested them in the last 12 months. Some 15% of these households had never tested their smoke alarms.

Of the estimated 334,700 WA households that had working battery-powered smoke alarms installed that were at least 12 months old, nearly three-quarters (74%) had changed the batteries in the last 12 months although almost one-fifth (18%) had never changed the batteries.

Graph: Households with working smoke alarms installed, by dwelling tenure


Exiting dwelling in an emergency

In October 2004, there were an estimated 438,300 WA households (56%) that had discussed ways to exit the dwelling in case of emergency.

Persons living alone (74%) were more likely to have thought about ways to exit their dwelling, compared with 44% of lone parent households with children, 50% of couple only households and 55% of couple with children households.

An estimated 119,600 WA households (15%) stated that someone in the household would have difficulty exiting the dwelling without help in an emergency. More than a quarter of couple with children households (26%) had someone who would have difficulty exiting the dwelling without help in an emergency compared with lone parent households (17%), lone person households (9%) and couple only households (7%).


SECURITY FEATURES


Door security

Less than half of WA households (42%) had deadlocks on all external doors. A further quarter of households had deadlocks on some external doors. Almost half of those living in flats, units or apartments (49%) did not have deadlocks on any of their external doors. This compares with a third of those living in separate houses (33%) and those in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses (30%). Rented households were more likely to have no deadlocks on any of their external doors (41%) compared with those households that were fully owned or being purchased (30%).

Less than half of WA households (45%) had security screens on all external doors. Those living in publicly rented households (69%) were more likely to have security screens on all of their external doors compared with those households that were fully owned or being purchased (45%) and those that were rented privately (43%).

Window security

In October 2004, one-fifth of WA households (20%) had security screens, window film, bars or grilles on all of their windows. Publicly rented households were more likely to have these features on all of their windows (35%) compared with those living in households that were fully owned or being purchased (19%).

Over half of WA households (51%) had window locks or security shutters on all of their windows. Some 37% of households living in flats, units or apartments had these security features on all of their windows, compared with semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses (56%) and separate houses (51%). More than one third of publicly rented households (37%) had window locks or security shutters on all of their windows compared with those living in households that were rented privately (48%) or those fully owned or being purchased (53%).

Other security

An estimated 216,000 WA households (27%) had a security alarm installed. Those living in separate houses were more likely to have one installed (30%) compared with those living in other dwelling types (17%). Households that were fully owned or being purchased were more than twice as likely to have a security alarm installed (32%), compared with rented households (15%).

Of those households that did have a security alarm installed, over half (52%) were either monitored by a security company or telephone modem system. A further 43% were unmonitored.

Almost half of WA households (49%) had sensor lights installed. Households living in separate houses were more likely to have sensor lighting installed (52%) compared with those in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses (41%) and those in flats, units or apartments (18%). Over half of households that were fully owned or being purchased (56%) had sensor lighting installed, which compares with almost one third of privately rented households (32%) and households that were publicly rented (20%).
Graph: All households, selected security features


HOUSEHOLD PROPERTY CRIME

Actual and attempted home break-ins

In October 2004, an estimated 38,400 WA households (4.9%) had been a victim of an actual home break-in and/or an attempted home break-in in the previous 12 months. Households situated in metropolitan regions (5.5%) were more likely to be a victim of an actual break-in and/or an attempted break-in than those in non-metropolitan regions (3.2%).

Of the 38,400 WA households that had been a victim of an actual and/or attempted break-in in October 2004, more than one-quarter (26%) had been a victim more than once. Of the 12,200 rented households that had been a victim of crime, over one-third (34%) had been a victim more than once. This compares with those households that were fully owned or being purchased (22%).

Seniors households are those where at least one usual resident was aged 60 years or over in October 2004. They were almost half as likely (2.9%) to be a victim of an actual break-in and/or attempted break-in compared with other households (5.7%).

Characteristics of most recent incident

Of those households who had most recently been a victim of an actual break-in, some 60% reported the point of entry was locked at the time of the incident. This compares with those households who had recently been a victim of an attempted break-in, where the attempted point of entry was locked in 86% of incidents.

The point of entry for three-quarters of actual break-ins was located at the side or back of the dwelling and for almost two-thirds (64%) the point of entry was not visible to neighbours or passers-by.

Over one third of actual break-ins (37%) occurred when someone was at home in the dwelling. This compares with 45% of attempted break-ins occurring when someone was home.

An estimated 42% of actual or attempted break-ins occurred during daylight hours and on a weekday. Almost two thirds of actual break-ins occurred during daylight hours (65%) and over three quarters occurred on a weekday (77%). In comparison, more than one third of attempted break-ins occurred during daylight hours (35%) and more than two thirds occurred on a weekday (67%).

An estimated 47% of all household victims of an actual or attempted break-in reported the point of entry was through a door. A further 41% were through a window. The point of entry was visible in more than one third (36%) of all attempted and actual break-ins. The most common point of entry for all attempted and actual break-ins was a window that was not visible to neighbours or passers-by (29%).

Almost three-quarters of households (71%) which were a victim of an actual break-in or attempted break-in reported the most recent incident to the police. Actual break-ins were more likely to be reported to police (87%) than attempted break-ins (47%).

More than four-fifths (82%) of households whose most recent incident was an actual break-in had property stolen. For these households, some 39% had up to $499 worth of property stolen. A similar proportion of households had between $500 and up to $2,999 worth of property stolen (38%) compared with 23% of those that had $3,000 or more worth of property stolen.

In more than one-third of households whose most recent incident was an actual break-in where property was stolen, there was someone home at the time of the incident (36%). For almost two-thirds of these households the point of entry was not visible to neighbours or passers-by (61%).
Graph: Household victims of crime, selected characteristics of most recent incident


SECURITY FEATURES AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT

Door security

A similar proportion of households who had most recently been a victim of an attempted break-in had deadlocks on all external doors (38%) at the time of the incident compared with actual break-ins (42%). The proportion of households with security screens on all of their external doors, when a victim of an actual break-in was 44%, compared with households that had an attempted break-in (50%).

Window security

A similar proportion of households who had most recently been a victim of an attempted break-in had window locks or security shutters on all windows (56%) at the time of the incident compared with actual break-ins (56%).

Other security

Of those households that had most recently been a victim of an actual break-in, some 26% had a security alarm installed at the time of the incident. Of these, 55% were unmonitored alarms. The proportion of households that had most recently been a victim of an attempted break-in that had a security alarm installed was 45%. Of these, almost half (49%) were unmonitored alarms.

Just over one-third (34%) of households that had most recently been a victim of an actual break-in had external sensor lights installed at the time of the incident. This compares to 56% of those households that had most recently been a victim of an attempted break-in.

For those households who had recently been a victim of an actual break-in, more than one-third (35%) had changed the security features of their dwelling since the incident. This compares with 17% of households who had recently been a victim of an attempted break-in.
Graph: Household victims of crime, selected security features at time of most recent incident



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