The New South Wales property crime decline

University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 2014, 25 (3), pp. 839 - 851
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On 12 September 2013 the New South Wales (NSW) Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) released the latest crime statistics for NSW. According to these statistics, the substantial decline in property crime in NSW that started in 2001 continues. Falls of 60-70 per cent in the rate of burglary, motor vehicle theft and different forms of robbery have occurred between 2000 and 2013. Little attention has been given to this great property crime decline in criminological and wider media publications. Given the substantial human and financial savings associated with these declines, this limited attention is disappointing. This Contemporary Comment provides a brief (and necessarily limited) overview of recent property crime trends in NSW, Australia and the wider Western world, before giving a tentative estimate of the savings derived from this property crime decline in NSW. Calculated using the Australian Institute of Criminology's costs of crime values (Rollings 2008), our preliminary estimate of the savings to the NSW community related to the drop in property crime in the last 12 years is A$5.15 billion dollars. We conclude by reviewing some of the explanations offered for the crime decline and urge that greater consideration be given to why these falls have occurred in the hope that such insights might inform future criminal justice and crime prevention policies.
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