Crimes affecting households and persons
Households and individuals in Australia report experiencing a diverse range of crimes. The ABS 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 ended April 2002, 4.7% of households had at least one break-in to their home, garage or shed and 3.4% found signs of at least one attempted break-in (table 11.4). Less than 2% of households experienced at least one motor vehicle theft.
An estimated 0.6% of persons aged 15 years and over reported that they were victims of robbery and 4.7% of persons aged 15 years and over were victims of assault in the 12 months prior to April 2002. Over the same period, an estimated 0.4% of females and 0.1% of males aged 18 years and over reported that they were victims of sexual assault.
Compared with the preceding survey (1998), small increases were observed in the victimisation prevalence rate for assault (increasing from 4.3% in 1998 to 4.7% in 2002) and for total personal crimes (increasing from 4.8% in 1998 to 5.3% in 2002). There were no significant differences in victimisation prevalence rates for household crimes across 1998 and 2002.
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). In 2002, rates of reporting to police varied from 20% for female victims of sexual assault to 95% for household victims of motor vehicle theft.
Overall around three quarters of persons aged 15 years and over perceived that there were problems with crime and/or public nuisance issues in their neighbourhoods. The most commonly perceived problem was housebreaking/burglaries/theft from homes (44% perceived this as a problem). Other commonly perceived problems were dangerous/noisy driving (39%), vandalism/graffiti/damage to property (27%) and car theft (25%) (graph 11.6).
11.4 VICTIMS OF CRIME - 12 months prior to April 2002
Victimisation prevalence rate(a)
|Type of crime|
|Motor vehicle theft|
|(a) The number of victims of an offence in a given population as a percentage of that population.|
(c) 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.
(d) Total household crimes is less than the sum of the components as households may be victims of more than one type of offence.
(e) Persons aged 15 years and over.
(f) Persons aged 18 years and over.
(g) Females aged 18 years and over.
(h) Persons aged 18 years and over. The victimisation prevalence rate for females was 0.4% and 0.1% for males.
(i) Total personal crimes is less than the sum of the components as persons may be victims of more than one type of offence.
Source: Crime and Safety, Australia, April 2002 (4509.0).