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Regional crime

Media Release

24 December 2000

Media release from Senator, the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Justice and Customs

Violent crime and property offences are increasing faster in regional areas of New South Wales and Victoria than in major urban centres, Minister for Justice and Customs, Amanda Vanstone, said today.

"People in capital cities tend to focus on the crimes that affect them the most - drug related crime," Senator Vanstone said.

"However, violent crime and property offences are increasing more rapidly outside our cities, even though absolute rates of crime in regional Australia are lower than in metropolitan areas."

"The increases in violence and property crime are associated with economic and social instability."

"In New South Wales' regional areas, a 1 per cent increase in the proportion of transient residents was associated with a 4.6 per cent increase in the rate of violent crime and a 4.3 per cent increase in the rate of property crime."

"In Victoria a 1 per cent increase in the unemployment rate was accompanied by property crime rates rising by 10 per cent."

"Economic and social stability is associated with lower crime rates. Stable populations and strong community ties are circumstances that make it harder for criminals to operate."

"This sort of research is very important to governments, not just at the Federal level but at all levels, because it is an essential first step in the process of developing appropriate crime prevention initiatives."

The Minister said these were the findings of the latest research paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology [AIC], Regional Development and Crime.

Senator Vanstone said the AIC examined a number of factors which could be creating the difference in crime rates between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. These include:

  • Residential mobility: Residential stability is considered a source of stronger ties amongst the community, making it more difficult for criminals to operate undetected.
  • Urbanisation: In less densely populated areas, it is more difficult for criminals to operate under conditions of anonymity, particularly in areas with stable populations.
  • Industrial Structure: Regions with industries employing large numbers of unskilled workers are often regarded to be at risk, in part because such workforces tend to be more transient.