Australian Crime Report – The Stats
Tuesday, 14th April 2009 at 4:24 pm
The annual Australian Crime Facts and Figures 2008 by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has found that property crime rates were the lowest in the 12-year period since 1996 but some violent crimes are continuing to rise.
For Not for Profits working in the welfare sector these figures may not be surprising, but the latest trends may assist in future planning.
While there have been increases in some types of violent crime, recorded homicides have decreased in the past 12 months and are now at the lowest level in 12 years.
The figures show that the rates of other violent crimes such as robbery and assault have also increased since 2004 but are still fewer than those occurring in the early 2000s.
A key trend from the publication is the very significant decline in arrests for cannabis and heroin offences. However, this has been offset by increases in arrests for amphetamines, an issue which has been of concern for governments and law enforcement agencies for some time.
Some 15 percent of robberies still involved the use of firearms.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus says that while some of the increase in recorded violent crime has been attributed to increased reporting to police, increased community awareness, changes in the way the justice system manages violent offences and the greater willingness of victims to report violence, all have influenced national crime statistics.
The report also shows expenditure on the criminal justice system has now risen to $9 billion annually. Police services represent the largest component, accounting for approximately 71% of total expenditure. Corrective services account for a further 24% and administration of courts the remainder.
In 2007, 806,000, or five percent of Australians aged 15 years or older, experienced at least one incident of credit card fraud or identity theft or fell prey to scams.
The minister says this comprehensive picture of crime and criminal justice system information will continue to help inform new policy agendas and priorities for intervention.
The report is available at www.aic.gov.au