4524.0 - In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, December 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/12/2011   
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AGE DIFFERENCES

Young adults and the elderly perceive significantly lower levels of social disorder.

Just over half of all respondents aged 65 years and over (51.4%) perceived at least one social disorder issue in their local area, which was significantly lower than the 62.6% of respondents below the age of 65 that perceived at least one issue. Respondents aged 65 years and over were significantly less likely than respondents below the age of 65 to perceive all of the social disorder issues. Specifically, they were half as likely to believe that people being insulted, pestered, or intimidated in the street (6.4% compared to 13.8%), public drunkenness (8.6% compared to 18.7%), and people using or dealing drugs (4.1% compared to 8.8%) were issues in their local area. Perceptions of social disorder by elderly persons may be influenced by a variety of lifestyle and age-related factors associated with this age group, including restricted mobility, the frequency of public outings, and exposure to community life (Endnote 7).

Young adults aged 18 to 24 were significantly less likely than adults aged 25 to 64 to identify the presence of at least one social disorder issue in their local area (58.8% compared to 63.3%). Specifically, they were significantly less likely to perceive the issues presented in the following table.

Social disorder issues
Percentage of respondents identifying the issue (%)
18-24 years
25-64 years
Noisy driving
30.0%
38.3%
Dangerous driving
30.3%
37.3%
Graffiti
17.9%
20.8%
Intentional damage to property
11.9%
15.3%

However, young adults were significantly more likely than adults aged 25 to 64 to perceive people being insulted, pestered, or intimidated in the street (15.7% compared to 13.5%) and people using or dealing drugs (10.5% compared to 8.5%) as issues in their local area. Certain lifestyle and age-related factors commonly associated with young adults, such as higher levels of social activity and an increased frequency of public outings, may increase their exposure to environments where social disorder issues are likely to occur (Endnote 8).

PROPORTION OF RESPONDENTS IDENTIFYING EACH SOCIAL DISORDER ISSUE by AGE(a)
Graph showing that respondents aged 65 years and over were significantly less likely to to perceive all of the social disorder issues


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