1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/01/2011  Final
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Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Individuals benefit from living in a society where criminal justice systems operate effectively to minimise harm to people and property. Crime takes many forms and can have a major impact on the well-being of victims, their families and friends, and the wider community. Those most directly affected may suffer financially, physically, psychologically and emotionally, while the fear of crime can affect people, restrict their lives in many ways, reduce levels of trust and impact on social cohesion. There are high financial costs associated with preventing crime, providing justice infrastructure, repairing criminal damage, supporting victims and dealing with offenders.


In 2008 there were 190,300 NSW households (7.0%) which were victims of household crime and 232,400 persons aged 15 years and over (4.2%) who were victims of personal crime.

For household crime, which includes break and enter, attempted break and enter and motor vehicle theft, the victimisation rate (7.0%) was similar to the 2007, 2006, and 2004 victimisation rates (6.5%, 6.8% and 7.4% respectively). The victimisation rates for break and enter (3.8%) and attempted break and enter (3.4%) also remained similar to their corresponding 2007, 2006 and 2004 rates. The victimisation rate for motor vehicle theft (0.7%) was lower than the 2004 rate (1.2%) but not significantly different from the 2007 or 2006 rates (0.9% and 1.0% respectively).

The personal crime victimisation rate, which includes robbery, assault and sexual assault, did not significantly differ in 2008 (4.2%) from the 2007, 2006 and 2004 rates (5.0%, 4.2% and 4.5% respectively). Assault was the only type of personal crime to show a statistically significant change from 2007. The victimisation rate for assault was 3.6% in 2008, a decrease from 4.4% in 2007. However, the victimisation rate in 2008 was not significantly different from 2006 or 2004 victimisation rates (3.5% and 3.8%, respectively).



In 2008 it was estimated that there were 196,800 assault victims in NSW, of which males comprised the majority (64% or 125,000) of all victims. Among males those aged 15–24 years experienced the largest proportion of assaults (27%) while for females the highest proportion of assaults were to those aged 35–44 years (29%).

Females (26%) were more likely than males (1.3%) to be assaulted by a family member or partner. Six out of ten (59%) male assault victims did not know the offender compared to four out of ten (42%) female assault victims.

ASSAULT VICTIMISATION RATE(a), By age and sex, NSW – 2008
Graph: ASSAULT VICTIMISATION RATE(a), By age and sex, NSW – 2008


In 2008 more than half (55%) of people in NSW did not think there were crime or public nuisance problems in their neighbourhood. This was similar to the 2007 figure (54%) and higher than the 2000 figure (49%).

The most commonly identified problems in 2008 were vandalism/graffiti/damage to property (26%) and dangerous/noisy driving (25%), followed by housebreaking/burglaries/theft from homes (21%), and louts/youth gangs and drunkenness (both 20%).

The proportion of people who perceived drunkenness to be a problem increased from 14% in 2000 to 20% in 2008. Over the same period of time, the proportion of people who perceived car theft to be a problem decreased from 22% to 13%.



Murder - There were 79 murder victims in NSW in 2008, the same number as in 2007 but lower than the 97 victims in 2006. There were 1.1 murder victims per 100,000 NSW population in 2008.

Assault - There were 71,108 recorded Assaults in NSW in 2008, with the rate being 1,018.1 Assault incidents per 100,000 population. This was the second lowest incident rate since 2001, however the incident rates over that period have been relatively stable.

Sexual offences - There were 9,281 recorded Sexual offences in NSW in 2008, up from 8,948 in 2007. The rate of Sexual offences (132.9 incidents per 100,000 population) has not changed substantially in the last eight years.

Motor vehicle theft and steal from motor vehicle - Recorded incidents of Motor vehicle theft and Steal from motor vehicle in NSW decreased by 7.2% from 88,641 in 2007 to 82,219 in 2008. Since 2001 the rate of Motor vehicle theft and Steal from motor vehicle incidents has declined from 2,194.3 per 100,000 population to 1,177.2.

Break and enter - In NSW in 2008 there were 67,162 recorded incidents of Break and enter, a decline of 5.2% since 2007. The rate of recorded Break and enter was 961.6 incidents per 100,000 population in 2008, which is less than half the 2001 incident rate (2,000.3).



A cleared criminal incident is one which, in the view of the police, has been satisfactorily cleared by the commencement of legal proceedings or otherwise. In 2008 the proportion of offences cleared within 90 days of reporting varied from 67% for murder victims, 57% for Assault (domestic violence related) and 46% for Steal from retail store to 1.7% for Steal from motor vehicle, 3.0% for Arson and 3.4% for Steal from dwelling. There was no great difference between the proportion of incidents cleared within 30 days as opposed to 90 days.

CLEARED CRIMINAL INCIDENTS, Selected offences, NSW, 2008
Graph: CLEARED CRIMINAL INCIDENTS, Selected offences, NSW, 2008


In 2008 there were 138,872 persons charged in NSW local courts and 246,196 charges were determined. This compares to 130,221 persons charged and 240,507 charges determined in 2002.

Only 13% of these cases were finalised by a defended hearing. The median delay for defended cases was 126 days in 2008 (up from 111 days in 2002). Six out of ten people who were charged had legal representation at their court appearance. Nearly nine out of ten (87%) persons who were charged were found guilty, of whom 6.8% were sentenced to prison. The average length of minimum/fixed term imprisonment to which persons were sentenced was 5.8 months.

There were 3,703 cases registered to the NSW District Courts in 2008 (up from 3,163 in 2007) of which 15.4% were finalised by a defended hearing. The median delay from committal to outcome for finalised District Court trials was 238 days (up from 188 days in 2002). Nearly 85% of persons charged were found guilty, of whom two-thirds (68%) were sentenced to prison. The average length of minimum/fixed term of imprisonment applied was 28.0 months.

During 2008, 101 cases were registered in the Supreme Court, down from 133 in 2007. Nearly half (48%) of the cases were finalised by a defended hearing. The median delay from committal to outcome for finalised Supreme Court trials was 266 days, the shortest delay since 2002 (234 days). Over two-thirds (68%) of persons charged were found guilty, of whom 91% were sentenced to prison for an average of 106 months.


There were 7,120 juveniles aged 10 to 17 years who were found guilty in NSW courts in 2008. The five most common principal offences in 2008 were:
  • Road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences (1,243 or 17.5%)
  • Theft and related offences (1,096 or 15.4%)
  • Acts intended to cause injury (1,086 or 15.3%)
  • Public order offences (739 or 10.4%) and
  • Unlawful entry with intent/Burglary, break and enter (728 or 10.2%).

The Local Government Areas (LGAs) which recorded the highest number of juvenile offenders in 2008 were:
  • Blacktown (608)
  • Campbelltown (313)
  • Penrith (202)
  • Gosford (186) and
  • Fairfield (185).


In NSW, 29,012 Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) were granted during 2008. This is a rate of 415.4 orders per 100,000 population. Of the AVOs granted in NSW during 2008, 22,684 were Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (324.8 per 100,000 population) and 6,328 were Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (90.6 per 100,000 population).

The LGAs with the highest, reliable, rate of total AVOs granted per 100,000 population were:
  • Bourke (3,526 orders)
  • Walgett (2,312)
  • Moree Plains (1,862) and
  • Junee (1,523).

Note that where the LGA population is less than 3,000 persons the rate of AVOs is considered unreliable.


One commonly used measure of re-offending is whether a person convicted of an offence is subsequently re-convicted of another offence within two years. Of those offenders who were convicted in 2006, 29% of adult offenders and 54% of juvenile offenders (persons aged 10–17 years) were re-convicted within two years. Since 2000 the re-offending rate has declined for adults (from 31% to 29%) and increased for juveniles (52% up to 54%).

For those convicted in 2006, higher proportions of re-offending were found for young persons aged 10–13 years (70%) and 14–17 years (53%) than for older age groups (28% for 35–44 year olds and 15% for those aged 45 years and over).

Re-offending was higher for both adult (30%) and juvenile (57%) males compared to females (24% and 40% respectively).

RE-OFFENDERS, Within 24 months of a previous conviction(a), NSW
Graph: RE-OFFENDERS, Within 24 months of a previous conviction(a), NSW


During the December quarter 2009 there were 10,304 persons in full-time custody in NSW, which was 4% higher than in the previous December quarter. Over nine out of ten (92%) of prisoners were male. Imprisonment rates for all persons have increased over time from 158 persons per 100,000 population in 2003 to 188 in 2009. The imprisonment rate of males in 2009 was 355 persons per 100,000 population while for females it was 28 per 100,000 population. Indigenous persons are over-represented in the prison population. In the December quarter 2009 Indigenous persons made up 21.9% of persons in full-time custody, an imprisonment rate of 2,462 persons per 100,000 population.


One quarter of all persons in full-time custody have not yet been sentenced. These are persons who are confined to custody or supervision while awaiting the outcome of their trial.

There were 865 persons in periodic detention for the December quarter 2009, of whom 92% were male. The number of persons in periodic detention was the highest December quarter result in the last seven years.

Community-based corrections refers to the community-based management of court-ordered sanctions, post-prison administrative arrangements and fine conversions, which principally involve the provision of one or more of the following activities: supervision, programs or community work. People can be under more than one form of community-based correction. At the December quarter 2009 there were 18,032 persons in NSW subject to community-based corrections. A higher proportion of women were under these orders (16%) compared to women held in full-time or periodic custody (8%). The most common forms of community-based correction were sentenced probation (60%), parole (25%) and community service (23%).

Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


ABS National Crime and Safety Survey (cat. no. 4509.0)

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, NSW Criminal Courts Statistics

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Recorded Crime Statistics Database

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Re-offending Database

Community Preparedness for Emergencies, NSW, 2003 (cat. no. 4818.1)

Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0)

Crime and Safety, Australia (cat. no. 4509.0)

Crime and Safety, New South Wales (cat. no. 4509.1)

Household Preparedness for Emergencies: NSW, VIC, QLD and ACT, 2007 (cat. no. 4818.0.55.001)

Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision (SCRGSP), Report on Government Services, Productivity Commission Canberra