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Housing Stock: Safe as houses?
Violence in the home
Overall, there were proportionally fewer violent crimes in Australian homes in 1993 than in 1983. While there were approximately 1,000 more assaults inside victims' homes in 1993 than in 1983, this represented a marginal decrease in the victimisation rate from 0.5% to 0.4%. Assaults outside victims' homes decreased by almost 6,000, a decrease in the rate from 0.3% to 0.2%. The number of assaults inside another person's home also decreased, from 19,000 in 1983 to 12,000 in 1993, a decrease in the rate from 0.2% to 0.1%.
Women were more likely than men to be assaulted inside their homes. In 1993, 41,000 women were assaulted inside their homes compared to 16,000 men.
VICTIMISATION RATE FOR ASSAULT IN THE HOME
Break and enter
There was a relatively small increase in break and enter and attempted break and enter in 1993 compared to 1983. Victimisation rates increased from 6.1% to 6.8%.
There were variations in break and enter victimisation rates between the states and territories. Of the state and territory capital cities, Perth had the highest rates for break and enter and attempted break and enter with 8.6% and 5.6% respectively. The Northern Territory also had relatively high rates of break and enter and attempted break and enter while Melbourne and Sydney had comparatively low rates. With the exception of attempted break and enter in Tasmania, all states recorded higher victimisation rates in the capital city than in the rest of the state.
VICTIMISATION RATE FOR BREAK AND ENTER, 1993
Who is victimised?
One parent families and people living in group households had the highest rates of victimisation for household crime. People living alone had the next highest victimisation rate. These three household types are more likely to be renters and to live in high density accommodation than couple families (see Australian Social Trends 1994, Housing the population).
VICTIMISATION RATE FOR HOUSEHOLD CRIME BY HOUSEHOLD TYPE, 1993
(a) Includes other family households.
Source: Crime and Safety Survey
Households who had some kind of home security device had considerably higher victimisation rates than those who did not. This could be because victims of household crime may have installed security devices after they had been victimised. It could also be that households with security devices are more likely to live in areas with high crime rates so their likelihood of victimisation is high, regardless of what security precautions are taken.
Membership of Neighbourhood Watch or Rural Watch reduced the likelihood of victimisation for household crime. In 1993, members of these two schemes had a household crime victimisation rate of 7.3% while the victimisation rate for non-members was 8.5%.
Renters had a higher victimisation rate for household crime than home owners. Informal sources of security, such as neighbours watching over premises while occupants are away, are perhaps less available to renters because of their generally higher levels of mobility.
VICTIMS OF HOUSEHOLD CRIME, 1993
Reporting to police
Police statistics often underestimate real crime rates because they only include those crimes which are reported. Depending on the nature of the crime, reporting rates may be relatively low. For example, in 1993, about half of all robberies, a third of assaults and a quarter of sexual assaults were reported to the police.
In 1993, the police were told about 79% of a break and enters and 32% of attempted break and enters. These figures may have been lower if victims were not required to report incidents to the police in order to claim insurance.
The main reasons given for not telling the police about crimes were that victims thought the incidents were too trivial or unimportant or that they believed that the police either could not or would not do anything about the incident.
1 Mackay, H. (1992) Reinventing Australia: the mind and mood of Australia in the 90s Angus and Robertson.
2 Reported in Queensland Domestic Violence Task Force (1988) Beyond These Walls.