The Crime and Safety Survey is a household survey which has been conducted nationally in 1993, 1998 and 2002. The survey also provides data on selected household crimes and personal crimes against persons aged 15 years and over for the 12-month period prior to the survey, and the risk factors associated with crime victimisation. Similar surveys have been conducted annually since 1990 (except for 1993, 1998 and 2002) in New South Wales; in 1999 in Western Australia; in 2000 in South Australia; and in 1995 in all states and territories except Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Crimes affecting households and persons
Households and individuals in Australia experience a diverse range of crimes. The Crime and Safety Survey focuses on those categories of more serious crime that affect the largest number of people: household break-in, motor vehicle theft, assault (including sexual assault) and robbery.
In the 12 months prior to the 1998 Crime and Safety Survey, 5% of households had at least one break-in to their home, garage or shed and 3% found signs of at least one attempted break-in (table 11.4).
An estimated 0.5% of persons aged 15 years and over reported in the survey that they were victims of robbery and 4% of persons aged 15 years and over were victims of assault in the 12 months prior to the survey. An estimated 0.4% of females aged 18 years and over reported that they were victims of sexual assault in the same time period.
Compared with the previous survey (1993), there had been increases in the rates of break-in and attempted break-in. The reported incidence of motor vehicle theft was unchanged, while the incidence of sexual assault disclosed in the survey had fallen slightly.
Reporting to police
Crime is not always reported to the police, with many factors influencing whether or not a crime is reported. In particular, rates of reporting to the police vary depending on the type of offence, as shown in graph 11.5. People are much more likely to report crimes against property to the police (a requirement for any associated insurance claim) than crimes against the person (i.e. assault or sexual assault). The five-year period to 1998 saw little change in reporting of property crimes, but an increased willingness for victims of sexual assault to report their assault to the police.
11.4 VICTIMS OF CRIME - 12 months prior to April 1998
Victimisation prevalence rates
|Type of crime|
|Motor vehicle theft|
(b) Break-in/attempted break-in includes households that were victims of either a break-in or an attempted break-in, or both. Therefore the figures for break-in/attempted break-in are less than the sum of the break-in and attempted break-in figures.
(c) Persons aged 15 years and over.
(d) Females aged 18 years and over.
Source: Crime and Safety, Australia, April 1998 (4509.0).