Thursday, 11 December 2008

trends (3): crime

I think most people living in major cities feel crime is more threatening than it used to be, but statistics suggest otherwise. Recent statistics for New South Wales reveal that the occurrence of most of the defined "major crime" categories are either stable or falling over the past two years. For example:

  • domestic violence assault was down 8%, the first fall for more than a decade;
  • assault with firearm was down 26%, and with other weapons was down 18%;
  • many other forms of theft were also slightly down.

The only major crime area which has shown an increase is fraud, up by 19%, and almost half of this is due to theft of petrol when service station patrons do not pay. It seems that whenever petrol prices rise, petrol theft rises correspondingly.

Some categories of crime (e.g. drug use) are not included in the "major crime" categories, because they are victimless crimes and not reported, therefore the statistics reflect the effectiveness of law enforcement as much as criminal behaviour. Drug use is generally increasing.

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