4524.0 - In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, December 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/12/2011   
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The person's age on their last birthday at the time of the survey.

Area of usual residence

Geographic designations are determined using the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+) which is calculated on the basis of physical distance from goods and services. For more information refer to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2010 (cat. no. 1216.0).

Attempted break-in

An incident where an attempt was made to break into the respondent's home, garage or shed. Includes incidents where the respondent (or another person) saw someone acting suspiciously around the property if it was suspected that his or her intent was to steal property. Excludes any attempted break-in that resulted in an actual break-in (e.g. attempted to break in through a door but then gained entry through a window). Also excludes attempted break-ins to a respondent's car.


An incident where an offender broke into the respondent's home (primary residence). Includes break-ins to garages, sheds or any detached secure buildings such as games/hobby rooms etc. Caravans were only included if it was the respondent's permanent residence. Break-in incidents relating to a respondent's car or front or rear yard were excluded.

Dangerous driving

Any ‘noisy driving’ (see noisy driving) that was also considered to be dangerous, drag racing, and breaking road rules (e.g. tailgating, speeding, overtaking illegally, running red lights).


Includes any form of defacing private or public property without permission (e.g. spray painting buildings or vehicles, scratching). Excludes graffiti for which permission has been given (e.g. community murals on public walls).


A household is defined as a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his/her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

Household crime victimisation

Specifically, a break-in, attempted break-in, motor vehicle theft, theft from a motor vehicle, incident of malicious property damage, or other theft, in which a household is considered to be the victim of the crime.


A single occurrence of a crime event, such as a break-in, attempted break-in, theft of a motor vehicle, or act of robbery, assault or sexual assault. Single respondents can report multiple incidents, which means the total number of victims and total number of incidents may differ.

Intentional damage to property other than graffiti

Includes vandalism such as breaking or damaging personal property, commercial property or public property (e.g. breaking windows in shops or houses); occasions where respondent has not witnessed the vandalism actually occurring, but observed the results (e.g. walking by a broken window which has clearly been damaged intentionally). Excludes graffiti.

Major cities

See Area of usual residence.

Malicious property damage

Intentional or wilful (not accidental) damage, defacement or destruction of any part of the respondent's home or anything usually kept at his or her home. The questions on malicious property damage relate to the respondent's home and any property belonging to the respondent or a member of his or her household, excluding any rental, investment or holiday properties that he or she owns. Property is something tangible in nature including land, conveyances, animals or other objects capable of being privately owned. Destruction can mean any alteration that may render something imperfect or inoperative. It can include destruction of property, graffiti or vandalism, partial destruction, killing or harming an owned animal, and removing or destroying a plant or other part of an owned landscape. Excludes turning off water meters and flicking safety switches etc. if no damage to the meter occurred.

Motor vehicle theft

An incident where a motor vehicle was stolen from any member of the household. Includes cars, utes, motorcycles, buses and trucks. Excludes boats and trailers. Only includes vehicles where the primary use is for private purposes (i.e. excludes commercial vehicles). Motor vehicle theft incidents are collected as household level data.

Noisy driving

Includes tooting horns, burnouts, revving, loud engines/exhausts, loud music, screaming out of windows, loud motorbikes, screeching wheels, slamming brakes. Excludes general traffic noise, such as noise from buses or trucks or noise from a nearby street.

Noisy neighbours

Includes loud music or parties, loud arguments, noise at inappropriate times of the day e.g. late at night or early mornings, and dogs barking.


A household or person that has not reported any of the crimes surveyed.

Offensive language or behaviour

Includes obscene and abusive language, public urination, indecent exposure, and spitting.

Other theft

Any unlawful taking or obtaining of money or goods other than from motor vehicles owned by the respondent or a household member, without the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion or deception, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner or possessor of the use of the money or goods. Includes any theft of property belonging to a respondent or a member of the respondent's household not mentioned previously in the survey by the respondent. Includes property belonging to a household member stolen from a vehicle not owned by a household member. Also includes property stolen from a yard or garden (e.g. statues, plants). Excludes any incidents involving theft covered in other sections of the survey such as break-ins or robberies. Other theft incidents are collected as household level data.

People being insulted, pestered, or intimidated on the street

Includes verbal abuse directed at an individual, people begging for money or other items, and unwanted advances.

People hanging around in groups

Includes any group of people (regardless of age or demographic) that the respondent perceives to be a problem, e.g. gangs.

People using or dealing drugs

Includes both illicit drugs and illegally obtained prescription drugs. Excludes prescription drugs that have been obtained legally.

Personal crime victimisation

Specifically, a robbery, physical assault, threatened assault or sexual assault, in which an individual is considered to be the victim of the crime.

Personal experience or observation

Includes hearing the incident without seeing it (e.g. personally hearing screeching tires, or a domestic dispute next door); seeing the result of the incident (e.g. broken property where it appears it has been intentionally damaged even if the respondent did not see the act being committed).

Physical assault

An incident where anyone used physical force or violence against a respondent. Physical force or violence includes being: pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, hit with an open hand or fist, kicked or bitten. It also includes being hit with something else that could hurt a respondent i.e. a bat, hammer, belt, pot, ruler, etc. It includes being beaten, choked, stabbed, shot, burnt, dragged or hit deliberately by a vehicle. Includes assault in a respondent's line of work. It excludes incidents that occurred during the course of play on a sporting field, verbal abuse, and incidents of sexual assault or threatened sexual assault which also involved physical assault.

Public drunkenness

Includes drinking alcohol in the street, stumbling and staggering in the street, and any inappropriate behaviours that are perceived to be a direct result of alcohol consumption (e.g. yelling abuse, fighting, and acting loud and rowdy). Excludes any drunken behaviour which occurs within licensed premises or on private property.

Remote areas

See Area of usual residence.


An incident where someone stole (or tried to steal) property from a respondent by physically attacking or threatening them with force or violence. Includes incidents of physical assault and threatened assault which also involved robbery or attempted robbery.

Rowdy behaviour

Includes behaviour generally disturbing to the public peace (e.g. loud behaviour, arguments, general boisterousness), and rowdy behaviour related to alcohol consumption.

Sexual assault

The definition of sexual assault was left to the interpretation of the respondent. Only people aged 18 years and over were asked questions about sexual assault.

Social disorder

Relates to respondents' attitudes and opinions about social disorder problems in the local area where they live at the time of the survey. The definition of 'local area' was left to the interpretation of the respondent and may include a whole town or suburb or the streets surrounding the respondent's home. Questions about social disorder problems were asked of all respondents aged 18 years and over.

Theft from a motor vehicle

An incident where property owned by a respondent or any member of that respondent's household was stolen from a motor vehicle owned (for private use) by that respondent or any member of that respondent's household. It excludes property stolen that belonged to someone not living in the household (e.g. friend, other relative), and property owned by a business/employer (e.g. computer, mobile phone, work tools). Property stolen from commercial vehicles (this includes a self-employed business operator whose vehicle is mainly used for work purposes), and any break-ins to motor vehicles where nothing was stolen are also excluded. Incidents of theft from a motor vehicle are collected as household level data.

Threatened assault

Includes any verbal and/or physical intent or suggestion of intent to inflict physical harm, which the person believed was able and likely to be carried out. Includes a threat or attempt to hit with a fist or anything else that could hurt, threats or attempts to slap, punch, spank or hit in any way with a fist or weapon such as a bat, hammer or pot, situations where a gun was left in an obvious place or if the person knew that the perpetrator had access to a gun. Includes toy guns, starter pistols etc. if the respondent believed they were real. Also includes incidents where a respondent was threatened in their line of work (e.g. while working as a security guard).


A household or person reporting at least one of the crimes surveyed. Victims were counted once for each type of crime, regardless of the number of incidents of that type.