4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Oct 2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/10/2000   
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National Crime Statistics Unit

The seventh in the series of the annual publication, Recorded Crime, Australia 1999 (ABS Cat. No. 4510.0) was released on 28 June 2000. This collection has now changed its classificatory basis for offences from the Australian National Classification of Offences (ANCO) to the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). This new offence classification has led to significant improvements in the comparability of crime statistics on both a State/Territory and national level.

Key findings from the 1999 national publication include:

  • For the first time in seven years there was a decrease in the number of robbery victims recorded, from a high of 23,801 victims in 1998 to 22,590 victims in 1999.
  • The number of robberies involving a firearm has also decreased to a seven-year low of 6% compared to 16% in 1993.
  • Murder victims increased by 20%, from 285 victims in 1998 to 342 victims in 1999. Of the murder victims in 1999, 21 victims were accounted for by the discovery of 12 bodies in Snowtown, South Australia and 9 victims were related to two family murder/suicide incidents in Western Australia.
  • Theft (not including motor vehicle theft) was the most commonly recorded crime in the collection, with a victimisation rate of 3,218 victims per 100,000 people.
  • Of all sexual assault victims, four in five were females, and almost one in two were females aged under 20 years.

Copies of Recorded Crime, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 4510.0) are available from the ABS for $31.00.

The National Crime Statistics Unit (NCSU) has recently begun preliminary investigation into the development of an Offender Based Statistics collection. The initial scoping exercise was conducted in late 1999 and the concept has been raised at the most recent Police Statisticians and NCSU Advisory Group meetings in an effort to seek endorsement. A presentation will be made to the NCSU Board of Management, and an Advisory Group workshop will be conducted to establish the premise for a more detailed scoping exercise, the results of which will be presented to the Police Statisticians in a February 2001 meeting.

On a smaller scale, an analysis has been undertaken looking at the expansion of the current weapon use classification to include knife and syringe. Documented support has been received from several jurisdictions and, at this stage, the expanded classification will be operational from 1 January 2001.