Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Increase in crime rate for non-metropolitan areas of Australia

Media Release

31 January 2001

Official statistics show that crime rates in non-metropolitan areas have increased faster than in metropolitan areas over the last five years.

Dr Adam Graycar, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology said "Identification of the factors that drive crime rates in regional Australia is crucial to developing strategic approaches to crime prevention and control".

"Crime rates are highest in either highly accessible or very remote areas rather than those in between. Distance from a service centre plays a crucial role in explaining the levels of crime in small to medium sized localities", Dr Graycar said.

The Australian Institute of Criminology released today the report Size, Accessibility and Crime in Regional Australia, by Carlos Carcach. This complements the previously released Regional Development and Crime, also by Carlos Carcach.

According to these studies, small localities seem to be less equipped to adjust to changes in economic activity, negative growth and out-migration, all of which are associated with increases in crime.

One of the studies finds that in Local Government Areas (LGAs) with populations over 50,000 residents, crime rates tend to increase for both violent and property crimes as the distance from main service centres increases. However, for smaller LGAs, in particular those with populations between 4,000 and 50,000 residents, crime rates decrease with distance from main service centres.

In LGAs with populations between 1,000 and 4,000 residents reduced accessibility increases rates of violent crime but does not affect rates of property crime. When the population is below 1,000, accessibility does not explain local variations in crime.

The fact that no single pattern describes the relationship between size, accessibility and regional crime suggests that different economic and social processes may affect crime rates of different localities in different ways.