Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Conference moves crime control towards new millenium

Media Release

23 March 1999

The Australian Institute of Criminology's (AIC) 3rd National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia closed today after two days of discussion on the future of Australia's criminal justice system.

AIC Director, Dr Adam Graycar said the conference had been an extremely successful information sharing exercise.

"What we have come away with from this is affirmation of our belief at the Institute that continued research and investment into collecting reliable data is essential to providing effective crime prevention programs."

"The best way we can control crime and keep a step ahead of criminals is by developing innovative connected thinking, building strong cross-sector partnerships and integrating our crime prevention activities. Building and sharing our information base is a very important part of this", he said.

"We need a whole of government and whole of community approach to fighting crime. This conference has helped us move beyond traditional boundaries by bringing together speakers and delegates from the public and private sector, the three tiers of government in all jurisdictions, and the three elements of our criminal justice system - the police, courts and corrections", Dr Graycar said.

The first issue on the agenda today was the importance of Commonwealth-State Cooperation in Criminal Justice. Speakers on this topic were Chair, National Crime Authority, John Broome and WA Police & Emergency Services Minister, Hon. Kevin Prince MLA.

Discussing Cooperation with the Private Sector was Director, AUSTRAC, Elizabeth Montano and presenting his view on Contracting Private Operators in Criminal Justice Secretary was Victorian Department of Justice, Peter Harmsworth.

Professor John Braithwaite, ANU spoke on Crime and Public Policy in the context of an Australian Research Agenda and international speaker Deputy Director, US National Institute of Justice, Sally Hillsman addressed the issue of Directions for Research and Policy.

A number of concurrent sessions were held covering: Homicide Patterns in Australia; Inter-jurisdictional Differences in Crime Rates; Crime and the Future; The Zero Tolerance Debate; Markets for Stolen Goods; Remand in Australia; Preventing Violence and Crime; Ethnicity and Crime in Australia; Fraud in Australia; Restorative Justice; Sentencing Patterns and Trends; and Firearms Policies and Practices.

The conference closed with speculation on our future crime landscape.

Dr Peter Grabosky, AIC Director of Research described the key factors he considered would shape the nature of crime in Australia in the 21st century.

These included economic reforms, public and private sector organisational changes, unemployment, mental stresses and family dissolution.

He predicted a continued trend of tasks once considered core government functions being devolved, delegated or privatised, and crime control being increasingly shared by private security agencies and individual citizens.

"Even today, police no longer have a monopoly on policing, with private industry security employees outnumbering police by at least 2 to 1. Australia also has a higher proportion of prisoners in private facilities than any other nation in the world", Dr Grabosky said.

He also forecasted an increasing erosion of personal freedom, facilitated by developments in surveillance technologies.

The next National Symposium on Crime in Australia will be hosted by the Australian Institute of Criminology in 2001.