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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Crime

CRIME AND PROGRESS

Crime takes many forms and can have a major impact on the wellbeing of victims, their families and friends, and the wider community. Those most directly affected may suffer financially, physically, psychologically or emotionally. Fear of crime can affect people by restricting community engagement, reducing levels of trust and impacting on social cohesion.

There are other costs of crime, including the provision of law enforcement services by the police, the courts and associated legal services, and corrective services. Although government agencies take on the major responsibility for law enforcement, many businesses and householders also bear costs in protecting against, or paying for, the consequences of crime. Such costs include insurance and security equipment and services.

If it were possible to measure the full cost of crime then it might be possible to produce a single number by which we could measure progress in this area. But there is no well established way of doing this, nor are there comprehensive data. Although information about expenditure on crime-related services provides some idea of the financial costs of crime to the community, the full impact on victims, and the subsequent costs to the wider community, might never be fully known (Mahew 2003). This is partly because the full extent of crime cannot be measured through available information systems. Indeed, it is well known that many crimes are never reported to police. Furthermore, estimating the costs of crime, even for those crimes that are reported, is also fraught with difficulties: each offence has different consequences for those affected, and in any case, it would be difficult to place a monetary value on these.

This section uses crime victimisation rates to assess whether life in Australia is getting better. These rates reflect the incidence of crime regardless of whether the crime has been reported to police. Currently the two headline indicators are victims of assault and victims of property crime (break-ins). However, as a result of changing methodology, the most recent crime victimisation data is not comparable to earlier data. The first data point for both headline indicators is 2008-09, and this means that no time series is currently available against which to assess whether there has been a positive improvement in crime victimisation rates in Australia over the last 10 years.

Additional information on crime is provided on other types of personal crime (robbery and sexual assault) and other types of household crimes (malicious property damage, theft). In addition, further contextual information has been included to provide a picture of crime in Australia and to highlight those groups most at risk of crime.

For a full list of definitions, please see the Crime glossary.

RELATED PAGES

  • Crime glossary
  • Crime references
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