Police recorded almost 30,000 COVID-19 offenders in 2020-21

Media Release

Police recorded 29,218 offenders with at least one COVID-19 related offence in 2020-21 while the overall number of offenders fell, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne, said Victoria recorded 79 per cent (23,120) of COVID-19 offenders which coincided with the state’s lockdown restrictions.

“Nationwide, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of all COVID-19 related offenders in Australia were male and over a third (36 per cent) were aged between 20 and 29 years (10,621 offenders),” Mr Milne said.

The overall number of offenders recorded by police in Australia declined to 359,975 in 2020-21, a 4 per cent decrease from the previous year, and the lowest number recorded in 13 years.

“Largely contributing to this decline from 2019-20 was the number of offenders with an illicit drug offence (down 11,745 offenders or 16 per cent) and theft (down 7,893 offenders or 20 per cent).”

Further details can be found in Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2020–21 available as a free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes

  • COVID-19 related offences include failure to comply with directives relating to the COVID-19 pandemic under state or territory Public Health Acts; failure to comply with a directive of a person performing a function under state or territory emergency management laws; and providing false or misleading information to a person performing a function under state or territory emergency management laws.

  • The Recorded Crime Offenders time series began in 2008–09.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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