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CJB130

Author Don Weatherburn, Jiuzhao Hua and Steve Moffatt
Published July 2009
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 130
Subject Offenders; Recidivism / Re-offending; Theft / Property crime
Keywords offender population, prevalence, offending frequency, burglary, motor vehicle theft.

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Summary

Aim

This bulletin uses techniques developed in population biology to estimate the number of offenders actively involved in burglary and motor vehicle theft in NSW during the period 2006-2007, as well as the percentage of offenders apprehended and convicted.

Abstract

This bulletin uses techniques developed in population biology to estimate the number of offenders actively involved in burglary and motor vehicle theft in NSW during the period 2006-2007, as well as the percentage of offenders apprehended and convicted. We estimate the participation rates in burglary and motor vehicle theft to have been approximately 32,000 (burglary) and 23,000 (motor vehicle theft). The overall detection and conviction rates amongst these groups of offenders were found to be much higher than is conventionally assumed (16.6 per cent for burglary and 13.5 for motor vehicle theft). The analysis provides evidence that there are two distinct groups of offenders – one offending at a very high rate and the other at a much lower rate. The majority of frequent offenders are caught and convicted but most infrequent offenders escape conviction. The bulletin concludes by arguing that control of burglary and motor vehicle theft requires a combination of law enforcement targeted at high rate offenders and prevention strategies designed to remove the opportunities and incentives for involvement in crime.

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