4510.0 - Recorded Crime, Australia, 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/07/1998   
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July 15, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Recorded crime, Australia - 1997

Theft, other than theft of a motor vehicle, was the most commonly reported crime in 1997 according to Recorded Crime, Australia, 1997, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Police recorded a total of 529,345 victims of this offence, a rate of 2,856 victims per 100,000 head of population.

Non-violent property crimes represented 87 per cent of the total victims of crime for the selected offence categories across Australia. A total of 417,845 victims of unlawful entry with intent (burglary/break and enter) were recorded in 1997, a victimisation rate of 2,255 per 100,000 people.

Other published data were that:
  • During 1997, firearms were used in 23 per cent (75 of 322) of murders, 28 per cent (90 of 318) of attempted murders, 2.6 per cent (1 of 38) of manslaughters, 24 per cent (2,183 of 9,015) of armed robberies, 3.6 per cent (20 of 557) of kidnappings or abductions, 0.7 per cent (806 of 123,940) of assaults, and 0.2 per cent (33 of 14,138) of sexual assaults.
  • There were 123,940 victims of assault in Australia during 1997. Victims of assault were males in 57 per cent of cases and 39 per cent were female. Victimisation rates for assault were highest in the Northern Territory (1,369 per 100,000 people) and South Australia (928 per 100,000 people). The national victimisation rate was 669 per 100,000 people. Victoria recorded the lowest rate of 361 victims per 100,000 people in 1997.
  • The total number of sexual assaults recorded in Australia during 1997 was 14,138 at a rate of 76 for every 100,000 people. Victims of sexual assault were aged less than 20 years in 59 per cent of cases and 79 per cent of victims were female. The highest victimisation rates were recorded in the Northern Territory (133 per 100,000 people) and Queensland (97 per 100,000 people). The lowest victimisation rates for sexual assault were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory with 32 victims per 100,000 people and Tasmania with 41 victims per 100,000 people.
  • Robberies were committed on 21,261 victims during 1997 at a rate of 115 per 100,000 people, this represents a 30 per cent increase in robberies over 1996. Armed robberies constituted 9,015 of these robberies (49 per 100,000 people), 12,246 were unarmed robberies at the rate of 66 for every 100,000 people. The most common location for armed robbery was retail premises where 49 per cent of offences occurred while 46 per cent of unarmed robberies occurred from streets and footpaths. The highest rates for robberies were recorded in New South Wales with 200 per 100,000 people and Western Australia (118). The lowest rates were for Tasmania with 31 and the Northern Territory with 38 for every 100,000 people.
  • Motor vehicles were stolen in Australia at a rate of 704 per 100,000 people in 1997. The most common location for motor vehicle theft was the street, from where 41 per cent of vehicles were stolen. The highest rates of motor vehicle theft were recorded in NSW with 872 per 100,000 people and Western Australia (845). The lowest rates were recorded in Queensland (500) and the Australian Capital Territory (504).
  • For those murders recorded by police in Australia between Jan and Dec 1997, investigations were finalised after 90 days in 78 per cent of cases (an offender was proceeded against in 69 per cent of cases after 90 days).

Details are in
Recorded Crime, Australia,1997 (cat. no. 4510.0) available from ABS bookshops in capital cities.

Please note: The development of comparable national crime statistics is an initiative of the Australasian Police Ministers Council carried out by the ABS in conjunction with State and Territory police. Data are derived from police administrative systems. The national offence definitions and counting rules vary from those used in each jurisdiction. Hence the statistics presented in Recorded Crime, Australia may be different to those published by police forces in individual States and Territories.