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The Nature of Crime in NSW Jackie Fitzgerald NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

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Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Crime in NSW Jackie Fitzgerald NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Nature of Crime in NSW Jackie Fitzgerald NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

2 Data Sources NSW Police recorded criminal incidents - COPS data Victim surveys NSW Criminal Courts data Reoffending database Specialised Research Other data sources

3 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

4 16 Major Offence Categories murder assault sexual assault indecent assault robbery unarmed robbery w. firearm robbery with a knife malicious damage break & enter- dwelling break & enter- non-dwelling motor vehicle theft steal from vehicle steal from dwelling steal from person retail theft fraud

5 NSW Recorded Crime Trends 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% STABLE murderstable assault stable sexual assaultstable indecent assaultstable robbery w. firearmstable steal from dwellingstable steal from personstable fraudstable malicious damagestable

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8 Clear up rates of Recorded Criminal Incidents Recorded incidents cleared within 180 days in 2001 –Murder 70.2% –Assault64.5% –Sexual assault33.3% –Robbery15.7% –Break and enter5.8% –Vehicle theft6.9% –Steal from vehicle3.0% –Malicious damage16.6%

9 Top 10 LGAs for Break and Enter dwelling RankLGANo.PopulationRate per 100,000 1Bourke1833, Moree Plains40315, South Sydney212088, Walgett1818, Leichhardt141763, Newcastle , Woollahra109555, Gilgandra904, Dubbo72337, North Sydney10193,

10 Age specific rate of offending – break and enter Rate per 100,000 male female

11 LocationNo.Clothing Shop555 Public Primary school4106Restaurant522 Public Sec. school2247Takeaway Food440 Private school788General Wholesaler365 Electronic Sales724Licensed Club349 Service Station680Building Site / Shed322 Motel632Chemist309 Café607Hardware309 Hotel/Pub599General Store304 Break and Enter – non-dwelling Premises type

12 Break and Enter – dwelling by day of week, Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday %

13 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

14 2003 Victim Survey results Households% of Victims% reported –Break and enter5.1%72.2% –Motor vehicle theft1.5%93.8% Persons –Robbery0.8%52.9% –Assault3.5%39 % –Sexual assault (females)0.5%21.0%

15 Assault victimisation rate by age, 2003 over and total Percentage (%) male female

16 Relationship with offender in most recent assault incident, Family member Friend Work/study colleague Acquaintance Neighbour Other Didn't know offender Percentage Male Female

17 Areas where households more likely to be broken into –areas with more than 10% unemployment –areas with a large population of 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 greater B+E risk

18 Household types with reduced B+E risk households with people aged over 55 less victimised households over 100 metres from public facilities

19 Perceptions of crime or public nuisance problems in neighbourhood ProblemMain problem No perceived problem50.3% Housebreaking29.3%14.5% Dangerous/noisy driving29.2%9.5% Vandalism/graffiti25.7%7.5% Louts/Youth gangs20.9%5.3% Illegal Drugs14.2%3.7% Car theft18.2%2.3% Drunkenness15.6%2.1%

20 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

21 Rate of appearance in Court by age, Age Number per 10,000 pop Female Male

22 NSW Local Court Summary Statistics Number of cases finalised129,828121,362130,888130,555 Cases finalised by defended hearing: 14.9%15.8%15.5%15.7% Persons w. legal representation52.2%50.6%54.2%55.7% Persons refused bail4.7%4.6%5.7%6.3% Median delay (first appearance to determination) for defended cases (days)

23 Sentencing in NSW Local Courts % persons receiving fine % persons sentenced to prison Average length of imprisonment (mths) Aboriginal persons % persons sentenced to prison % Average length of imprisonment

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25 Outcome of charges in Higher Courts All offences %Sexual assault % Guilty plea Guilty by verdict Not guilty - by direction Not guilty - by verdict Remitted to local court Accused failed to appear No further proceedings directed - crown application Accused deceased Plea accepted in full discharge of indictment Guilty plea within trial Dismissed, section Offences taken into account Stay of proceedings Referred to Mental Health Tribunal Total

26 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?

27 High range PCA dismissal/discharge by Local Court NSW Court Average Wollongong Nowra Windsor Kempsey Penrith Liverpool Campbelltown Bankstown Tweed Heads Coffs Harbour North Sydney Burwood Tamworth Raymond Terrace Lismore Toronto Belmont Gosford Newcastle Court Percent dismissed/discharged

28 Contact with the NSW Court System 1.9% of all NSW residents aged % of all NSW residents aged % of all male NSW residents aged % of all Indigenous NSW residents aged % of all Indigenous NSW residents aged 20-24

29 Frequency distribution of number of court appearances, % with this number court appearances No. of persons

30 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

31 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%

32 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

33 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.


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