Community Safety Survey, Tasmania

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    Self-enumerated survey of residents of private dwellings throughout Tasmania seeking information about selected household and personal crime and safety issues conducted as a supplement to the October 1998 Monthly Labour Force Survey.
    The target populations were Tasmanian private households - usual residents of private dwellings aged 18 years and over.
    Form A (households), Form B (all persons aged 18 years and over). Females (18+) were asked to provide information on sexual assault on a separate questionnaire (Form C), and were advised that there was no obligation to participate in that part of the survey.

    Government Agencies in Tasmania are now required to report in their Business Plan and Annual Report about outputs and outcomes. The Output methodology requires the clear identification of the full cost of outputs and demonstrated links between outputs and the achievement of the outcomes desired by government for the community. This enables government and departments to improve their strategic decision making and ensure that there is an appropriate connection between department' outcomes and the government's policy objectives.

    The relevant outcomes for the Department of Police and Public Safety are:

    • a safe, secure and well-ordered community;
    • a reduced incidence of crime in the community; and
    • a police service that is accessible and responsive to the community.

    The recommendations of the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Council (a Service Provider to the Community) are a related output, and the relevant performance indicators are the effectiveness of community crime prevention programs, and a reduction in the level of fear of crime in the community.

    In order to report to Government on the achievement of outcomes, far more effective measurement of the performance indicators is required and will be provided through the Community Safety Survey. This survey will provide more accurate information about the community's fear of crime than is provided by the Community Attitudes to Police Survey, together with information about how different factors influence levels of fear of crime.

    Crime Prevention and Community Safety Council
    One of the Council's terms of reference is to determine crime prevention and community safety project priorities, including education initiatives, and then implement, monitor and evaluate these projects. In order to effectively determine project priorities the Council needs to be informed about the nature of the crime problem in Tasmania.

    Another part of the Council's function is to address community safety issues in the Tasmanian community. An important aspect of this function is to identify the level of fear of crime in the community and attempt to identify ways to reduce fear of crime. The survey will provide useful information about the level of fear of crime in the community and the extent to which various factors influence levels of fear of crime in the community. This information can then be used by the Council to develop, in conjunction with the community, strategies to reduce the level of fear of crime in the Tasmanian community.

    Finally, the information provided in the survey about the nature of the crime problem in Tasmania, fear of crime in the Tasmanian community and the effectiveness of various community crime programs, will be used to provide strategic direction and policy advice to Government for example by identifying potential areas of concern (eg. the level of fear of crime, the influence of certain factors on fear of crime) that may need to be addressed through policy changes.

    Neighbourhood Watch Program
    Information that is provided on the awareness and effectiveness of the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) program will be utilised to evaluate and to provide future directions for this program.

    Neighbourhood Watch is a major community crime prevention program operating in Tasmania. If a significant proportion of the community have not heard of NHW then this may suggest that the program needs to be publicised more widely so that more people are given the opportunity to participate in the program. If members of the community in general are not aware of the program then it is also possible that some offenders or potential offenders are not aware of the program either.

    In addition to indicating future directions the survey will provide important information to assist in the evaluation of the program. The survey will indicate whether NHW participants think the program is effective (at preventing crime). If people who are members of NHW are generally more fearful that those who are not members this may also have important implications for the program.

    National Fear of Crime Project
    The National Campaign Against Violence and Crime and the National Anti-Crime Strategy are currently undertaking a project on Fear of Crime. The first stage of the project is a research phase which will make recommendations for pilot projects which are likely to be tested in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. The information that this survey will collect on fear of crime will provide detailed information on the fear of crime in Tasmania. This will greatly assist in the implementation of these pilot projects.

    Trend Analysis
    In a previously conducted State Supplementary Survey (1989) questions were asked about respondents' perception of crime problems in their neighbourhood and awareness of Neighbourhood Watch. Some of the questions in the survey will be similar to the questions asked in the previous (1989) survey and this will make it possible to undertake some comparisons

    Other Uses
    In letters of support from other Tasmanian government agencies the following further specific uses were identified for the survey output:
    The Office of the Status of Women's policy development processes will be enhanced by the availability of some of the data from the proposed survey.
    The Office of Youth Affairs and Family is also interested in the information for policy development processes.
    The Department of Justice is in accord with the Department of Police and Public Safety about the need for reliable measures of Community Safety.

    The Community Safety Survey was conducted as supplementary to the Monthly Labour Force Survey. For the Community Safety Survey, all usual residents of private dwellings aged 18 years and over were in scope. Special dwellings and visitors to private dwellings were excluded.

    Other normal Labour Force exclusions apply to scope and coverage, for example:
    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia;
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia; and
    • Jervis Bay Territory.

    In the Labour Force Survey, coverage rules are applied that aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible.


    Conceptual framework
    As the data was collected as supplementary to the Monthly Labour Force Survey, some data can be cross-classified with data from that Labour Force Survey. For example:

    • Age
    • Sex
    • Employment status and
    • Full-time/part-time employment status

    Main outputs
    Results from the survey will be available in a publication (Community Safety, Tasmania, ABS Cat No. 4515.6 ) as well as in additional user tables. In some cases, additional unpublished cross-classifications of data items will be available.

    • Tasmanian households (Form A)
    • Tasmanian civilian population aged 18 years and over (Form B)
    • Tasmanian female population aged 18 years and over (Form C)

    The main data items:
    • Perceptions of neighbourhood problems;
    • Main sources of information of crime for the public;
    • Security measures taken, with reference to neighbourhood watch scheme;
    • Self defence lessons, numbers and reasons why people undertook them;
    • Personal precautions taken at night against crime;
    • Perceptions of safety;
    • Types of victimisation experienced;
    • Concern and chance of becoming a victim of crime;
    • Concern for the safety of others; and
    • Female fears and experience of victimisation.

    A. Classifications from the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS)
    • Employment status
    • Full-time/part-time status
    • Personal characteristics: age, sex
    • Geography: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)
    • Households with children present.

    B. Main classifications from: Crime and Safety Survey, Police classifications, Australian National Classification of Offences (ANCO).

    Other concepts (summary)

    A group of people who live together (in a single dwelling) as a single unit in the sense that they have common housekeeping arrangements: some common provision for food and other essentials of living.

    A suite of rooms which are self contained, intended for long term residential use and are contained within a building. To be self contained the suite of rooms must possess cooking and bathing facilities as fixtures.

    Includes having your home or motor vehicle broken into; your home, motor vehicle or property damaged; you motor vehicle stolen; or personal physical attack or threat of violence to one's person.

    Household security
    Refers to the measures households took to ensure their home was secure against crime. Includes whether the household had a dog; whether there was a car in the driveway; windows fitted with bars, grilles, security shutters or locks; deadlocks on doors; security screen doors; outside lighting; burglar alarms and marking or engraving of household valuables.

    Is regarded as the experience of any of the above selected crimes committed against the person or their property either by a stranger or someone known to the victim.

    Public places
    Public places includes locations such as shopping centres and malls; parks; public toilets; car parks; streets; sporting grounds; public transport terminals; pubs, hotels and clubs.

    Sexual assault
    An incident which was of a sexual nature involving physical contact, including rape, incest and assault with intent to sexually assault. Sexual harassment, stalking and indecent exposure were excluded. Only females aged 18 years and over were asked the sexual assault questions.

    Refers to whether dwelling is owned outright, being bought, rented or any other form of holding arrangement.

    Refer to Statistical Geography, Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (ABS Cat No. 1216.0) for more details. The three major statistical regions in Tasmania are Greater Hobart and Southern, Northern and Mersey-Lyell.

    Neighbourhood Watch
    Is a community based crime prevention program mainly aimed at preventing break and enter offences.

    Neighbourhood problems
    Refers to the types of crimes and forms of public nuisance that may be experienced by persons in the area in which they live. For example, housebreakings, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, problems with neighbours, louts, dangerous/noisy driving and illegal drugs.

    Fear of crime
    Refers to how much persons feared that they may become the victim of selected crimes as indicated by the level of worry each of these selected crimes caused them.

    Concern for the safety of others
    Refers to how concerned persons were for the safety of their partners/spouses, parents and children, as indicated by how worried they were that these people may become the victim of physical attack or be threatened with violence by a stranger/s or by a known person/persons.

    Likelihood of crime
    Refers to person's perceptions of the likelihood that they may become a victim of selected crimes, as indicated by what chance they really thought there was of them becoming a victim of selected crime.

    Safety of places and activities
    Refers to how safe persons perceived selected public places and activities to be at night. For example shopping centres, parks, catching a bus, jogging/walking.

    Household motor vehicle
    Is one owned or used by members of a household, parked at or near the dwelling (includes a work vehicle if driven by the householder or vehicle provided by an employer).

    Personal precautions
    Refers to measures persons took in order to avoid becoming the victims of crime when they went out at night. For example going out with other people, carrying a personal alarm, carrying some sort of weapon or something that could be used as a weapon.

    Statistical Division

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    not applicable

    Once Only

    Frequency comments
    Once Only.

    Not applicable. This is a once-only survey


    Data availability comments
    Published May 1999.

    03/05/2002 09:44 AM