4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2010   
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Contents >> Introduction >> Measuring crime and criminal offending


Crime is a product of the surrounding social environment and its occurrence is influenced by the complex interplay of environmental, social and person-level factors, as well as the policies of particular governments. These contextual factors interact in the lead-up to, commission of, and consequences of a criminal event.


Concepts relating to crime and justice can be challenging to measure and there are a number of ways information can be generated. Not all of the characteristics of crime can be measured adequately from data sourced from administrative agencies; alternative sources such as survey data collected from households or case studies can provide a more in-depth understanding of the complex factors related to crime.

Data about crime victimisation are also measured via ABS household surveys which provides direct reports from members of the public about their experiences of a selected range of personal and household crimes. Crime victimisation surveys generally will have higher victimisation rates than data sourced from police agencies.

Administrative data, whilst useful, do have some limitations. Administrative crime victimisation data are based on reported incidents to police agencies, however not all crimes come to the attention of police. The type of offence committed, the victim's perception of its seriousness and the police's ability to take action influence whether an incident is reported. Some offences are also very difficult to detect.

Neither administrative data nor survey data provide a definitive measure of crime victimisation, but together these sources provide a more comprehensive picture of crime victimisation than either measure alone.

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