4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/03/2019   
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OFFENDERS, AUSTRALIA

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents national statistics about offenders aged 10 years and over who were proceeded against by police during the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 across states and territories where this data was available (see Explanatory Notes). The statistics provide information about the characteristics of the offender (e.g. age and sex) and the principal offence for which an offender was proceeded against. Further information for each state and territory is available in the State and Territory Profiles.

Note: Data presented in this chapter for Victoria and Australia for 2017–18 is for selected principal offences only. Victorian data is understated for 2017–18 as data about offenders proceeded against via penalty notice were not available for the full reference period. As a result, the 2017–18 total offender count for Victoria and Australia, as well as data for some principal offences, are not comparable with data from previous years and other states and territories. This data is therefore not published in this release. For further information refer to the Explanatory Notes.


OVERVIEW

The number of offenders proceeded against by police decreased between 2016–17 and 2017–18 in:

  • Queensland (down 3,115 offenders or 3%)
  • South Australia (down 2,909 offenders or 6%)
  • New South Wales (down 2,503 offenders or 2%)
  • Western Australia (down 382 offenders or less than 1%)
  • Australian Capital Territory (down 37 offenders or 1%)
  • Tasmania (down 26 offenders or less than 1%) (Table 6)

These jurisdictions also recorded corresponding decreases in the offender rate, the largest of which occurred in South Australia, down 217 offenders per 100,000 persons. (Table 6)

Over the same time period, the Northern Territory recorded an increase in the number of offenders (up 651 offenders or 6%) and the offender rate, from 5,709 offenders to 5,960 offenders per 100,000 persons (which was the highest rate recorded for this jurisdiction since 2008–09). (Table 13)


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

In 2017–18, the common principal offences nationally were:
  • Acts intended to cause injury (78,391 offenders)
  • Illicit drug offences (78,167 offenders)
  • Theft (41,699 offenders) (Table 1)

Acts intended to cause injury

After increasing each year since 2012–13, the number of offenders with a principal offence of Acts intended to cause injury remained relatively stable in 2017–18 with a small decrease of 30 offenders from 2016–17.

Since the beginning of the time series in 2008–09, offenders of Assault have consistently accounted for over 90% of offenders in this offence division. (Table 1)

The highest offender rate for Assault in 2017–18 was recorded in the Northern Territory (1,424 offenders per 100,000 persons), and the lowest rate was recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (190 offenders per 100,000 persons). (Table 6)

Illicit drug offences

The number of offenders with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences decreased for the second consecutive year, from 81,160 offenders in 2016–17 to 78,167 offenders in 2017–18. (Table 1)

This decrease was largely due to decreases in offenders with a principal offence of Possess and/or use illicit drugs (down 4% or 2,005 offenders) and Deal or traffic in illicit drugs (down 6% or 648 offenders). (Table 1)

Offenders with a principal offence of Possess and/or use illicit drugs (52,665 offenders) accounted for the majority (67%) of the Illicit drug offences. This is consistent with previous years, remaining between 66% and 67% since the beginning of the time series in 2008–09. (Table 1)

Excluding South Australia (as data may be overstated, see Explanatory Notes), the highest offender rate for Possess and/or use illicit drugs in 2017–18 was recorded in the Northern Territory (394 offenders per 100,000 persons). (Table 6)

Theft

Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, the number of offenders with a principal offence of Theft decreased nationally by 1% (or 522 offenders). This was the first decrease for this offence in three years. (Table 1)

Almost all states and territories recorded a decrease in the number of offenders with a principal offence of Theft, the largest in Victoria (down 374 offenders, or 5%). Western Australia was the only jurisdiction to record an increase in Theft, up 279 offenders (or 5%) to 5,518 offenders. (Table 6)

In 2017–18, Queensland recorded the highest offender rate for Theft with 280 offenders per 100,000 persons, followed by Western Australia with 246 offenders per 100,000 persons. (Table 6)


SEX

In 2017–18, the male offender rate was between two to four times higher than the female offender rate at:
  • 2 times higher in the Northern Territory
  • 3 times higher in Western Australia
  • 3 times higher in Queensland
  • 3 times higher in South Australia
  • 3 times higher in New South Wales
  • 4 times higher in Tasmania
  • 4 times higher in the Australian Capital Territory (Table 15)

OFFENDER RATE(a), By sex, Selected states and territories(b), 2017–18
Graph Image for OFFENDER RATE(a), By sex, Selected states and territories(b), 2017–18
Footnotes: (a) Rate per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over for the state/territory of interest (see Explanatory Notes). (b) Victorian data unavailable (see Explanatory Notes).

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019

The most common principal offence for both male and female offenders was:
  • Illicit drug offences in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia
  • Acts intended to cause injury in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
  • Public order offences in Tasmania and the Northern Territory (Tables 7–14)