Australian Crime Statistics That Take No Prisoners

Crime statistics in Australia

Do you lose sleep at night, worrying that someone might break into your house or steal your car? Are you on your computer, looking up the local crime statistics by suburb and the armed robbery statistics in Australia before you leave home?

Of course, these are reasonable fears to have, but are they entirely justified? How likely are you to become the victim of a violent crime in Australia?

To put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled some crime statistics to help you find out the country’s exact crime rates, get detailed info from crime maps on where offences are happening, learn what the current crime trends are, and much more. 

Let’s investigate!

Arresting Stats on the Crime Rate in Australia for 2021

  • Between 2018-19 and 2019-20, the number of offenders in Australia dropped by 5%.
  • In 2019-2020, the Oz offender rate was 1,677 per 100,000 people.
  • The number of sexual assault victims in Australia in 2019 was 26,892.
  • 10,045 Aussie offenders were involved in Covid-related crimes in 2019/20.
  • The median age of Aussie offenders is 30 years.
  • In 2019-20, 46,949 youth offenders were prosecuted in Oz.
  • In Australia, 21% of offences in 2019-20 intended to cause injury.
  • The 2020 homicide victim rate in Australia was 2 in 100,000 persons.
  • In 2020, Aussies reported around 160 cybercrimes daily.
  • From 30 June 2019 to 30 June 2020, there were 41,060 prisoners in Australia.

General Crime Statistics in Australia

1. Between 2018-19 and 2019-20, the number of offenders in Australia dropped by 5%.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Based on the most recent ABS crime statistics, Australia is slowly but surely becoming a safer place to live. There was a significant decrease in the number of offenders prosecuted by police in Australia from 394,638 in the financial year of 2018-2019 to 374,645 in 2019-2020.

2. In 2019-2020, the Oz offender rate was 1,677 per 100,000 people.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

From 2018-19 to 2019-20, the offender rate decreased by 118 offenders per 100,000 population. This was the lowest number on record since 2008-09.

3. From 2018-19 to 2019-20, the number of public order offences decreased by 24%.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to official crime statistics in Australia, the number of public order offenders decreased across all jurisdictions by 12,608 between 2018-19 and 2019-20, from 53,583 to 40,975. The decline was most evident in Queensland with 21% or 2,958, Victoria—31% or 2,809, and South Australia—34% or 2,726 offenders. 

4. The number of sexual assault victims in Australia in 2019 was 26,892.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Sexual assault statistics in Australia suggest the number of victims in this category more than doubled by 2019 over the previous 26 years. Specifically, the rate of such victims was 106 per 100,000 individuals in 2019.

5. Among Aboriginal offenders, the most common crime in 2019–20 was acts intended to cause injury.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The incomplete crime statistics in Australia by race for 2019-2020 indicate that by state/territory, the tally of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders who were prosecuted by police was as follows:

  • In Queensland—17,459
  • In New South Wales—13,378
  • In the Northern Territory—4,779
  • In South Australia—4,272
  • In The Australian Capital Territory—354

6. 10,045 Aussie offenders were involved in Covid-related crimes in 2019/20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

What are the key factors in crime trends? Sometimes, it’s a global pandemic. Namely, there were 10,045 offenders whose unlawful acts were related to Covid-19 in 2019-20. According to the coronavirus latest figures, Victoria was home to more than half of these offenders (54%), or 5,457.

In other regions, there were far fewer offenders who committed at least one pandemic-related crime:

  • 1,949 in Queensland
  • 1,373 in New South Wales
  • 719 in South Australia
  • 245 in Tasmania
  • 219 in West Australia
  • 87 in the Northern Territory

Surprisingly, there weren’t any pandemic-related offences in the Australian Capital Territory that financial year.

Crime Statistics by Region

7. In 2019-2020, 116,924 offenders were prosecuted by police in New South Wales.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to Australian crime statistics by state, New South Wales has the highest crime rates in Australia. However, compared to 2018-2019, when the authorities prosecuted 122,001 NSW offenders, there was a 4% downtick the following year. There was also a decrease in the offender rate per 100,000 people from 1,736 to 1,642.

8. The number of offenders in Victoria decreased by 2% from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics) (Numbeo)

According to the latest 2021 data, the Melbourne crime index is 44.01 out of 100 (moderate), while the level of crime in Victoria’s capital is 45.65.

In 2019-20, 74,189 Victorian offenders were proceeded against by police, a decrease of just 59 year-over-year. In 2018-19, the offender rate was 1,331 per 100,000, while in 2019-20—1,272 per 100,000. 

The most common principal criminal acts in Vic in 2019-20 intended to cause injury (23%), with 17,171 offenders, and of these, most or 16,441 individuals were prosecuted for assault, statistics in Australia show.

The number of public order offenders in 2019-20 was 6,244, down 31% from the year before. Within the same period, miscellaneous offences went up by 24%, reaching 7,630 perpetrators, mainly because of the many fines related to the Covid-19 pandemic. 9,898 offenders were prosecuted for illicit drug offences, 6% more than the prior year.

9. There were 14,941 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents in Vic in 2020.

(Crime Statistics Agency)

If we explore the Victorian crime statistics by race, the number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents in this state nearly doubled over the ten years between 2012 and 2021. In 2012, the number was 7,945, whereas by March 2021, it’d increased by 6,996. Year-over-year, however, there was a 16.6% increase from March 2020’s 12,809 incidents.

10. In Queensland, 88,452 offenders were prosecuted by police in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to Queensland crime statistics, 89,501 offenders were slapped with charges in 2018-19, while the following year, that number contracted by 1%. The offender rate per 100,000 individuals also decreased from 2,035 in 2018-19 to 1,975 in 2019-20 (60 fewer).

Another significant decrease is evident in the same period in public order offenders of 21% to just 10,967 perps, the lowest on record. However, robbery and extortion offences rose by 12% to hit 1,253, and miscellaneous violations increased more than tenfold, reaching 1,161 offenders.

The most common crimes in the Australia state of Qld in 2019/20 were illicit drug-related (27%), with 23,697 people getting caught committing them.

11. There were 2,371 offenders per 100,000 people in South Australia in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics) (Numbeo)

According to the detailed Australian crime statistics by state, in 2019-20, there were 38,860 lawbreakers proceeded against by the SA police, 17% fewer than the previous year. The offender rate in 2018-19 was 2,900 per 100,000, while a year later, it decreased by 529.  

12,868 offenders were involved in illicit narcotics-related principal offences in 2019-20, which was the most common type of prosecuted crime in this state that year, accounting for 35% of all cases, despite a 17% annual drop.

Year-over-year, between 2018-19 and 2019-20, public order offences shrunk by 34%, whereas fare evasion-related crimes dwindled by 51%. Conversely, miscellaneous offences increased by 53%, primarily because of fines issued during the pandemic.

Furthermore, in SA’s capital Adelaide, the crime rate is really low as of 2021. The level of crime is just 26.27 out of 100, while the safety index is 71.32.

12. Western Australia had the lowest-ever rate of 1,638 offenders per 100,000 people in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In 2019-20, 37,597 Western Australian offenders were prosecuted by the police, 5% less than in 2018-19. Furthermore, the offender rate dropped by 105 from 1,743 offenders per 100,000 people in 2018-19.

According to the same crime statistics, in WA in 2019-20, 22% of offenders or 8,363 were involved in illicit drug crimes, with 5,103 being accused of possession or use—the most common type of offence in this state. In addition, robberies and extortions increased by 17% from 2018-19 to 2019-20. Fortunately, homicides reduced by 23% over the same period to just 91 offenders. 

13. Tasmania’s number of offenders reduced by 11% between 2018-19 and 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In 2019-20, the number of prosecuted offenders in Tas was 8,705, over a tenth less than the previous year, when it had been 9,614. In 2018-19, the offender rate per 100,000 people there was 2,045 before decreasing the following year to 1,826, we learn from the official crime statistics in Australia.

In 2019-20, 22% of offenders got into trouble with the law because of principal acts intending to cause injury, while 19% due to public order offences.

14. In 2019-20, 9,505 prosecuted offenders called the Northern Territory home.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to the crime map of Australia, there were 13% fewer offenders in the NT in 2019-20 than the year before. In this territory, the most common principal crimes were acts aiming to cause injury—28% or 2,652 offenders, whereas 2,633 people committed public order offences (also 28%), a 31% decrease from the prior year.

15. 2,406 offenders were proceeded against by the ACT police in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics) (Police News)

Of all Australian crime statistics by state in 2019-2020, the crime rate recorded in the Australian Capital Territory was the lowest, at 648 offenders per 100,000 people. The 19% year-over-year decrease in the number of illicit drug offenders that same year is further proof that crime rates in the ACT are low and have been declining over time.

However, despite the improvements, there are still some crimes in this jurisdiction. The most common principal one was assault, committed by 29% of all offenders or 692 individuals.

Furthermore, according to the latest Canberra police news, in the first half of 2021, within a total of 18,409 offences and infringements, there were 1,388 assaults, 947 burglaries, seven murders, 1,948 instances of property damage, 4,105 thefts, and 5,103 other offences committed in the nation’s capital.

Crime Demographics in Australia

16. The median age of Aussie offenders is 30 years.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to the latest crime demographics, between 2018-19 and 2019-20, there was a decline in youth crime in Australia, as well as across all age groups. Namely, in 2018-19, the offender rate per 100,000 people among 20-24-year-olds was 3,613, while a year later—3,265.

Among 15-19-year-olds, the same rate was 4,075 in 2018-2019, while the following year—3,774. There were 3,001 offenders per 100,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 29 in 2018-19, but in 2019-20, the number reduced to 2,802.

17. In 2019-20, 46,949 youth offenders were prosecuted in Oz.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In 2019-2020, the number of offenders between the ages of 10 and 17 proceeded against by police in Australia approached 47,000. Fortunately, youth crime in Australia isn’t as widespread as it was in the past. It’s been gradually declining over the past ten years, shedding roughly a third by 2019-20, for a youth offender rate of 1,914 per 100,000 population.

18. 20% of youth offenders’ crimes in 2019-20 intended to cause injury.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In 2019-2020, the most common principal youth crime in Australia was acts with the intention of causing injury with 9,447 10-17-year-old offenders (20%). 96% of these were assaults.

Theft was in second place, with 14% (6,657 offenders), while 11% of the total crimes were illicit drug-related, committed by 5,121 offenders.
Furthermore, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, principal robbery and extortion offences among juveniles increased by 17% year-over-year in 2019-20 to become the highest on record.

19. In 2019-20, 70% of youth offenders aged 10-17 were males.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to ABS crime statistics, 33,068 of the offenders between the ages of 10 and 17 in 2019-20 in Australia were boys. Consequently, the male youth offender rate was more than double the female one. There were 2,626 male offenders and only 1,156 female ones for every 100,000 people.

Crime Statistics by Category

20. In Australia, 21% of offences in 2019-20 intended to cause injury.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In first place among the most common crimes in Australia were acts intended to cause injury, with 78,523 people nailed by the police for this reason in 2019-2020 alone. A close second were illicit drug offences, with 20% of all or 74,443 offenders that year. Third were public order offences with 11% or 40,975 prosecuted offenders.

21. The assault victim rate in the NT in 2019 was the highest at 2,737 per 100,000 people.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The victimisation rate for assault has risen drastically in some parts of Australia, based on recent ABS crime statistics. Let’s check out the victim rates in some other states and territories in 2019:

  • In Western Australia—1,186 assault victims per 100,000 residents.
  • New South Wales had 836 attacked victims per 100,000 individuals.
  • In Tasmania, there were 629 assault victims per 100,000 citizens.
  • In South Australia, the number of such victims was 923 per 100,000 persons.
  • In the ACT, there were 562 victims of assault per 100,000 population.

22. There were 11,775 robbery victims in Australia in 2019.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In addition, the most recent crime statistics in Australia tell us that the number of victims of unlawful entry with intent in 2019 was 173,344, a drastic decline compared to the figures over the past few decades, but nonetheless an increase from 2018’s all-time low of 168,050. 
Furthermore, there were 58,021 stolen motor vehicles in Oz in 2019, car burglary statistics show, which was almost half the 1993 number, down by 48%. The worst-ever year on record for such victimisation was 2001, with 139,895 affected Aussies.

23. 1,195 people died in car accidents on Australia’s roads in 2019.

(Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication)

This was an increase of 5.3% compared to the previous year but a decrease from the 2011-2020 baseline of 1,427 road crash deaths. In the decade between 2010 and 2019, the annual fatality rate dropped from 6.1 per 100,000 to 4.7 per 100,000, or by 23.3%.

Homicide Statistics

24. The 2020 homicide victim rate in Australia was 2 in 100,000 persons.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Crime shows would have you believe that people are getting murdered all over the place, but what are the actual real-world stats? Oz crime statistics indicate that the number of murder victims in the 27 years between 1993 and 2020 decreased by 40%, or even 50%, from around 4 in 100,000 people, if we factor in population changes.

25. The homicide rate in 2018-19 was 0.88 per 100,000 Aussies.

(Australian Institute of Criminology)

The all-time lowest recorded murder rate in Australia was in 2017-18 when it was 0.78 incidents per 100,000 people nationwide. However, between then and the following year, it went up slightly by 0.10.

26. Most murder victims in Oz are killed by someone they know.

(Australian Institute of Criminology)

In 2018-2019, the overwhelming majority of homicides in Australia were committed by an acquaintance of the victim, at a rate of 0.33 per 100,000, whereas domestic murders occurred at a rate of 0.30 per 100,000, and in over half of these, as usual, the victim was the killer’s intimate partner.

In the total homicide rate, such acts were committed by strangers only in 0.13 per 100,000 cases.

27. There were 19 fewer homicide victims in AU in 2020 than in 2019.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Specifically, in 2019 there were 416 homicide victims, and in 2020—396. 61% of 2020 incidents occurred at a residential location, totalling 214 victims, whereas 59% involved a knife or some other weapon, resulting in 232 deaths. 67% of the victims were male, while 37% of the incidents were FDV-related.

Domestic Violence Statistics

28. In 2019-20, the AU police prosecuted 75,417 offenders for family and domestic violence.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to police crime statistics, the rate of offenders proceeded against for family and domestic violence in 2019-20 per 100,000 people was 338, which was 20% of all offenders nationwide.

29. In 2019-20, 81% of family and domestic violence perpetrators were male.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

We find from ABS crime statistics that just over four in five domestic violence offenders in 2019-2020 were men. The male FDV offender rate in Australia was 557 per 100,000 men. On the other hand, the female one was four and a half times lower—124 per 100,000 women.

30. In 2020, 37% of homicides and related offences were linked to FDV.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Looking at the specifics of the murder rate in Australia, we see that concerningly, in the year between 2019 and 2020, family and domestic violence-related homicides increased by 12%. The number of victims in 2019 was 130, whereas in 2020—145.

31. In 2018-19, New South Wales recorded the highest number of FDV assault victims.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to assault statistics in Australia, the number of family and domestic violence-related assault victims climbed between 2018 and 2019 in all Australian jurisdictions except the Northern Territory, where it decreased by 8% to 4,030 victims.

  • In NSW, the number of such victims increased by 4%, reaching 30,937.
  • Western Australia saw a 10% increase in FDV-related assault victims to 19,437.
  • There was a 10% increase in SA as well, totalling 8,009 victims.
  • In Tasmania, there were 1,576 victims, up 7% from the prior year.
  • The fewest victims were recorded in the ACT—978, but it was still a 12% increase.

Cyber Security Statistics

32. In 2020, Aussies reported around 160 cybercrimes daily.

(Information Age)

Australian citizens made approximately 60,000 crime reports to the Australian Cyber Security Centre in 2020, of which 40% were about fraud (romance, investment or shopping-related). According to online crime statistics, a year earlier, Aussies lost $634 million to these kinds of internet scams. However, this is a rough estimate since many of these crimes go unreported.

33. In 2019, the card fraud rate Down Under was 56.6 cents per 1,000 AUD.

(Statista)

Has the crime rate decreased in Australia when it comes to card fraud?

In the eight years between 2012 and 2019, the Oz fraud rate had its ups and downs. It was the lowest in 2012 at 43.6 cents per 1,000 AU dollars. It gradually increased over the following years, reaching its peak in 2017 at 75 cents per $1,000, and then started declining, plummeting to less than 57 cents per $1,000 in 2019.

34. The economic impact of identity crime in Australia is over $2 billion a year.

(Department of Home Affairs) (Australian Institute of Criminology)

According to a survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), 25% of Aussies have been victims of identity theft at some point in their lives. These online crime statistics tell us that 12% of them experienced misuse of their personal information in 2018-2019. Identity theft is one of the primary enablers of organised crime and costs the state approximately $36 billion a year.

35. Cybercrime costs Australian businesses an estimated $29 billion a year.

(Greenlight)

According to 2020 cyber crime statistics in Australia, the average business can lose up to $276,323 per breach, with 53% of that sum being spent on detection and recovery. Furthermore, it usually takes as many as 51 days to resolve a ransomware attack.

Criminal Court Statistics

36. In 2019-2020, 486,422 defendants were finalised in Australia’s criminal courts.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The number of finalised defendants in 2019-20 was 16% lower than the previous year when it’d been 576,101. Namely, 416,844 or 86% of the defendants were found guilty, 38,718 or 8% had their charges dropped, 17,213 or 4% were transferred to other court levels, while only 11,908 or 2% were acquitted in 2019-20, we learn from ABS crime statistics.

37. 157,110 defendants were involved in traffic and vehicle regulatory offences in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Crime statistics in Australia from 2019-20 suggest that 75% of the principal offences of defendants finalised in court belonged to just five categories.

In first place were traffic and vehicle regulatory offences with 33% of the total. Next were acts intended to cause injury (including assault) with 65,579 defendants or 14% of all defendants. 50,497 defendants (11%) were involved in illegal drug offences, whereas 40,781 (9%) in theft. Last were offences against justice, with 36,664 defendants or 8% of the total.

38. For 55% of those found guilty in 2019-20, the primary sentence was a monetary order.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to the relevant crime statistics, the most common sentence applied to 227,407 of the 416,844 defendants with a guilty outcome in 2019-20 was a monetary order. The median fine they had to pay was $500.

39. There were 17,364 defendants finalised in Higher Courts in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

14,114 of these were found guilty, 1,922 had their cases dropped by the prosecution, 937 were acquitted, while 196 were transferred to other court levels.

Compared to the 2018-19 ABS crime statistics, there was a 10% decrease in the number of defendants finalised in Higher Courts in 2019-20.

40. 443,777 defendants were finalised in Magistrates’ Courts in 2019-20.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Recording a 16% decrease from 2018-19, in 2019-20 that number contracted by 82,939. 383,646 defendants had a guilty outcome, 33,621 had their matters dropped by the prosecutor, 15,960 were transferred to other court levels, while 9,983 were acquitted.

41. In 2019-20, 25,279 defendants were finalised in Children’s Courts.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to the stats on the prosecution of youth crime in Australia, in 2018-19, 30,178 defendants were finalised in Children’s Courts. The subsequent year, that number decreased by 16%. Of the total, 19,082 were found or pleaded guilty, 3,171 had their matters withdrawn by the prosecution, 1,050 got transferred to other court levels, whereas 991 were acquitted.

Correctional Facility Statistics

42. From 30 June 2019 to 30 June 2020, there were 41,060 prisoners in Australia.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Compared to the one-year period from 30 June 2018 to 30 June 2019, when the number of prisoners Down Under was 5% higher at 43,028, the following year, 1,968 fewer people ended up in the hands of the prison services.

Furthermore, the 2019/20 national imprisonment rate was 202 prisoners per 100,000 adults, down by 7% compared to the year prior, when it had been 219 per 100,000. Not bad for a former penal colony, huh?

43. The number of female prisoners in AU reduced by 10% from 2019 to 2020.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The number of male prisoners, in turn, dropped by 4.1%. The most common crimes in Australia for which fewer female prisoners did time was theft with 27.9% and fraud/deception with 24.1%, while among males, the decrease in fraud/deception prisoners was highest at 20.7%, whereas theft was a close second with 19.6%.

44. In 2019-20, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners increased by 2%.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

When we delve into the crime statistics in Australia by race, we see that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners in 2020 was 12,092, which was an uptick from the year before. The only two categories where the number of such prisoners reduced in this one-year period were theft by 21.3% and breaking and entering by 5.9%.

45. 387 people per 100,000 adults were imprisoned in community-based corrections in Q1 2021.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In the first quarter of 2021, there were 77,529 people serving time in CBC. This was a significant year-over-year increase of 7% since, in the same quarter a year prior, the number had been 83,377.

Now That We Have This in the Can

We might not know what crimes will increase in the future, but what we do know is that the crime rates for most types of offences have declined in recent years. Therefore, you can relax—we’ve got all the relevant crime statistics to prove to you that, on the whole, Australia is a safe place to live. (Well, aside from that pesky wildlife, but everyone’s used to it by now, right?)

Sources:

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