OECD Crime Statistics: Commentary by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research


Release date: 29 March 2006
The claim that Australia has the highest rate of crime victimisation among OECD member countries is based on information that is out of date and potentially very misleading, according to the Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

"The claim is based on a household survey conducted in 17 industrialised countries more than five years ago (i.e. in 2000)".

"Property and violent predatory crime in Australia reached a peak in 2000, due to an epidemic of heroin use that began in the mid-1990s. Since that time, heroin use and heroin-related crime in Australia have fallen sharply".

"Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that between 2000 and 2004, the recorded rate of homicide fell 25 per cent, the recorded rate of robbery fell 33 per cent, the recorded rate of burglary fell 33 per cent, the recorded rate of motor vehicle theft fell 40 per cent and the recorded rate of general theft offences fell 23 per cent".

According to Dr Weatherburn, at present there is no way of knowing how Australia compares with other countries in terms of most categories of crime because the results of the most recent international crime survey have not yet been publicly released.

"If the OECD wants to make a practice of comparing crime rates across countries, it should do so on the basis of reliable and up-to-date information. Basing claims about crime in Australia in 2006 on information gathered in 2000 unfairly tarnishes Australia's reputation".

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn. Ph. 9231-9190 or 0419-494-408