4510.0 - Recorded Crime, Australia, 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/06/1999   
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June 16, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS reports increase in most types of crime

The number of victims of crime recorded by police in Australia rose for all categories between 1997 and 1998, with the exception of murder (which decreased by 12%) and blackmail/extortion (which decreased by 17%), according to a publication released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The most commonly reported crime was theft other than theft of a motor vehicle.

Murders recorded in 1998 were the lowest in six years. Police Australia wide recorded a total of 284 victims of murder, a rate of 1.5 victims per 100,000 people. The Northern Territory recorded the highest victimisation rate, with 7.9 victims per 100,000 people, and the Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest rate with 0.3 victims per 100,000 people.

Although armed robberies increased by nearly 20%, the number of armed robberies involving a firearm decreased to a six-year low of 18% compared to a high of 38% in 1993.

Nationally, there were 565,214 recorded victims of theft (other than theft of a motor vehicle), a rate of 3,015 victims per 100,000 people. Western Australia recorded the highest theft rate with 4,472 victims per 100,000 persons, compared to Victoria which recorded the lowest rate of 2,694 victims per 100,000 people.

Other findings in the publication Recorded Crime, Australia, 1998 include:
  • During 1998, firearms were used in 19% of murders, 19% of attempted murders, 18% of armed robberies, 3.9% of kidnappings or abductions, 0.5% of assaults and 0.2% of sexual assaults.
  • More males (58%) were victims of assault than females (40%). Victimisation rates for assault were highest in the Northern Territory (1,317 per 100,000 people) and South Australia (1,001 per 100,000 people).
  • Most victims of sexual assault were female (80%). Almost half (47%) were females aged under 20 years. The total number of sexual assaults recorded was 14,568 at a rate of 78 for every 100,000 people. The highest victimisation rates were recorded in the Northern Territory (124 per 100,000 people) and Western Australia (100 per 100,000 people).
  • Robberies have increased by 12% since 1997, with 23,778 victims, a rate of 127 per 100,000 people. The most common location for armed robbery was retail premises where 50% of offences occurred, while 66% of unarmed robberies occurred at a community location.
  • The number of motor vehicles stolen increased by 1.1% over 1997, at a rate of 702 stolen motor vehicles per 100,000 people in 1998. The highest rates of motor vehicle theft were recorded in Western Australia, with 880 per 100,000 people, and in NSW, recording 833 per 100,000 people.

Further details are in Recorded Crime, Australia, 1998 (cat. no. 4510.0) available from ABS bookshops in capital cities. A copy of the publication's main findings are available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the main findings. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.

Please note: Statistics presented in Recorded Crime, Australia may be different to those published by individual police forces, owing to variations in national offence definitions and counting rules.