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The Nature of Crime in NSW. Jackie Fitzgerald NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Data Sources. NSW Police recorded criminal incidents - COPS data Victim surveys NSW Criminal Courts data Reoffending database Specialised Research Other data sources. Recorded Crime Statistics.

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the nature of crime in nsw

The Nature of Crime in NSW

Jackie Fitzgerald

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

data sources
Data Sources
  • NSW Police recorded criminal incidents - COPS data
  • Victim surveys
  • NSW Criminal Courts data
  • Reoffending database
  • Specialised Research
  • Other data sources
recorded crime statistics
Recorded Crime Statistics
  • These represent criminal incidents reported to and recorded by the NSW Police

Advantages:

  • can collect information on a wide range of offences
  • can compare crime rates across areas
  • can compare crime rates over time

Limitations :

  • Omits offences which are not reported
  • Certain offences only show levels of Police activity eg. drugs, drink driving
  • Suffers from deficiencies in Police record keeping
slide4

16 Major Offence Categories

  • break & enter- dwelling
  • break & enter- non-dwelling
  • motor vehicle theft
  • steal from vehicle
  • steal from dwelling
  • steal from person
  • retail theft
  • fraud
  • murder
  • assault
  • sexual assault
  • indecent assault
  • robbery unarmed
  • robbery w. firearm
  • robbery with a knife
  • malicious damage
slide5

NSW Recorded Crime Trends 2001 - 2002

STABLE

  • murder stable
  • assault stable
  • sexual assault stable
  • indecent assault stable
  • robbery w. firearm stable
  • steal from dwelling stable
  • steal from person stable
  • fraud stable
  • malicious damage stable

DOWN

  • robbery unarmed down 18%
  • robbery with a knife down 37%
  • break & enter- dwelling down 13%
  • break & enter-business down 21%
  • motor vehicle theft down 22%
  • steal from vehicle down 16%

UP

  • Retail theft up 8%
clear up rates of recorded criminal incidents
Clear up rates of Recorded Criminal Incidents

Recorded incidents cleared within 180 days in 2001

  • Murder 70.2%
  • Assault 64.5%
  • Sexual assault 33.3%
  • Robbery 15.7%
  • Break and enter 5.8%
  • Vehicle theft 6.9%
  • Steal from vehicle 3.0%
  • Malicious damage 16.6%
slide10

Age specific rate of offending – break and enter

500

450

400

350

300

Rate per 100,000

250

200

150

100

50

0

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-39

40-49

50+

male

female

slide12

Break and Enter – dwelling by day of week, 2002

16.4

18.0

14.7

14.5

14.1

13.9

13.8

16.0

12.6

14.0

12.0

10.0

%

8.0

6.0

4.0

2.0

0.0

Friday

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Saturday

Thursday

Wednesday

crime victim surveys
Crime Victim Surveys
  • Survey of community member’s experience of crime

Advantages:

  • Estimates the true level of crime
  • Calculates the proportion of unreported crime
  • Can compare Australian crime rates with OS
  • Victim characteristics can be obtained
  • Informs about fear of crime

Limitations:

  • Limited number of offences included
  • Offers no information about the offender
slide14

2003 Victim Survey results

  • Households % of Victims % reported
    • Break and enter 5.1% 72.2%
    • Motor vehicle theft 1.5% 93.8%
  • Persons
    • Robbery 0.8% 52.9%
    • Assault 3.5% 39 %
    • Sexual assault (females) 0.5% 21.0%
slide15

4.4

2.7

total

Assault victimisation rate by age, 2003

male

female

8.4

9

8

6.3

7

6

4.8

4.5

4.1

5

4

Percentage (%)

2.5

2.5

2.3

3

2.1

1.6

2

0.7

0.6

1

0

15-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and

over

relationship with offender in most recent assault incident 2003

55

36

25

14

11

11

9

8

8

7

5

4

4

3

Relationship with offender in most recent assault incident, 2003

60

50

40

Percentage

30

20

10

0

Other

Friend

member

Family

Neighbour

offender

Didn't know

colleague

Work/study

Acquaintance

Male

Female

slide17

Household types with greater B+E risk

  • Areas where households more likely to be broken into
    • areas with more than 10% unemployment
    • areas with a large population of 15-24 year old males
    • cities or towns with populations over 8000
  • Household types with greater B+E risk
    • one parent households v two parent households
    • person living alone v couple with children
    • houses next to lanes/bike paths v houses not
    • households on busy roads v households not
household types with reduced b e risk
Household types with reduced B+E risk
  • households with people aged over 55 less victimised
  • households over 100 metres from public facilities
perceptions of crime or public nuisance problems in neighbourhood
Perceptions of crime or public nuisance problems in neighbourhood

Problem Main problem

  • No perceived problem 50.3%
  • Housebreaking 29.3% 14.5%
  • Dangerous/noisy driving 29.2% 9.5%
  • Vandalism/graffiti 25.7% 7.5%
  • Louts/Youth gangs 20.9% 5.3%
  • Illegal Drugs 14.2% 3.7%
  • Car theft 18.2% 2.3%
  • Drunkenness 15.6% 2.1%
nsw criminal courts
NSW Criminal Courts
  • Data collected on all NSW Local and Higher Court cases

Advantages :

  • Provides detailed information on offenders: gender, age, residence, outcome, penalty
  • Figures are reliable

Limitations:

  • How representative are offenders in Court?
  • May favour juveniles or the inexperienced
  • Many offences have very low clear up rates eg B&E, MVT 5%
  • Does not provide victim information
  • Figures can be affected by external factors eg cautioning
slide21

Rate of appearance in Court by age, 2001

1200

1000

Female

Male

800

Number per 10,000 pop

600

400

200

0

10-11

12-13

14-15

16-17

18-19

20-24

25-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60+

Age

sentencing drink drivers the use of dismissals and conditional discharges
Sentencing drink-drivers: The use of dismissals and conditional discharges
  • In NSW, convictions for drink driving incur a mandatory period of licence disqualification
  • Licence disqualification, however, is avoided if no conviction is recorded against the defendant
  • In the past 10 years the percentage of PCA offenders not receiving a conviction has increased
  • Has this change been uniform across the State?
high range pca dismissal discharge by local court 2002

Newcastle

Gosford

Belmont

Toronto

Lismore

Raymond Terrace

Tamworth

Burwood

North Sydney

Court

Coffs Harbour

Tweed Heads

Bankstown

Campbelltown

Liverpool

Penrith

Kempsey

Windsor

Nowra

Wollongong

NSW Court Average

High range PCA dismissal/discharge by Local Court 2002

0

10

20

30

40

50

Percent dismissed/discharged

contact with the nsw court system
Contact with the NSW Court System
  • 1.9% of all NSW residents aged 10+
  • 5.1% of all NSW residents aged 20-24
  • 8.4% of all male NSW residents aged 20-24
  • 12.8% of all Indigenous NSW residents aged 10+
  • 27.7% of all Indigenous NSW residents aged 20-24
frequency distribution of number of court appearances 1997 2001
Frequency distribution of number of court appearances, 1997 - 2001

% with this number court appearances

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15+

No. of persons

slide30

The Abolition of short sentences

  • Between 1996 and 2001 the NSW prison population increased by 19%
  • In 2001 a parliamentary committee recommended the abolition of sentences of 6 months or less
  • What impact would this have?
    • Reduce prison population by 10 percent
    • Reduce the flow of people into prison by 40 %, from 150 per week to 90 per week
    • Could save between $33 million and $47 million per annum
hung juries and aborted trials
Hung juries and aborted trials
  • One in six trials in NSW District Court fail to reach a conclusion because of a hung jury or aborted trial
  • Hung juries are more common among trials that:
    • last longer than three days; are heard in a metropolitan court; where no adjournment is sought
  • Trails are more likely to be aborted if they:
    • are held in Sydney; involve multiple offence counts; involve sex offences, violent offences or fraud; if there are multiple accused; if there is a voir dire; if the trial is a jury rather than a judge-alone trial; and if no bench warrant has been issued.
  • Reasons for aborting:
    • Evidence 43%, Juror 21%, Witness 11%, Case 7%, Accused 6%
reducing juvenile crime conferencing versus court
Reducing Juvenile Crime: Conferencing versus Court
  • Youth Justice Conferencing is effective in reducing juvenile crime
  • Compared 590 juveniles referred to YJC hem with 9,346 juveniles dealt with by the Children’s Court
  • The proportion of juveniles who re-offended was 28% lower for those who had been before a YJC.
  • The number of re-appearances in court was about 24% lower among those who had originally been referred to YJC.
  • Positive results also for Aboriginal juveniles
the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the nsw drug court
The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court
  • Drug Court participants (n=309) compared to control group (n=191)
  • Findings:
    • Drug Court participants took significantly longer than the control group to their first drug offence. Drug Court participants had lower rates of offending for most categories of offence.
    • The per day cost for an individual on the Drug Court ($143.87) was slightly less than the per day cost for offenders in prison ($151.72).
    • The main difference was in the cost-effectiveness of reducing the rate of offending. It cost nearly $5,000 more for each shop stealing offence averted using conventional sanctions, and additional $19,000 for each possess/use opiates offence averted, than it cost using the Drug Court program.