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Mapping crime - atlas of crime in Australia

Media Release

20 September 2000

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

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today launched the first ever national Atlas of Crime in Australia.

Senator Vanstone launched the Atlas, prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology [AIC], at an AIC conference in Adelaide.

"This Atlas will be a valuable tool for all those involved in fighting crime," Senator Vanstone said.

"It gives governments, at all levels, a basis for directing crime prevention programs and also gives law enforcement factual information about the differences in crime patterns across Australia."

"This is the first time such a comprehensive picture of crime right across Australia has been presented in this way."

"The Atlas highlights the differences in crime patterns across states and territories and across regions, including suburban areas, within those states and territories. In particular, it concentrates on five types of crime:

  • Armed robbery
  • Unarmed robbery
  • Residential break and enter
  • Non-residential break and enter
  • Motor vehicle theft"

"We often hear media reporting of crime rates, generally based on national or state/territory figures. This is useful in providing year by year comparisons within a State/Territory or comparing one State/Territory to another."

"While such data is important, it does not present an accurate picture of when, where and at what rate crime is occurring within a particular community or region."

Senator Vanstone said the ability to 'map' crime in this way would allow those involved in working to prevent crime to get behind the potential causes of crime.

"By better understanding crime, governments can direct resources and focus their efforts in a more effective and targeted way," Senator Vanstone said.

"The Atlas will help governments target resources by showing them where the most urgent needs for crime prevention efforts are."

"There is no point spending disproportionate time and effort combating domestic burglaries in areas where few such burglaries occur."

Senator Vanstone stressed that the Atlas itself is not a solution to crime in particular areas.

"As with international crime which takes no account of international borders, criminals operating within Australia are not restricted by state/territory or regional borders," Senator Vanstone said.

"This Atlas is an ideal way of tracking patterns of crime, identifying areas with particular problems and allowing those responsible for policing or preventing crime to develop appropriate responses."

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