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Livestock theft twice the rate of residential burglary

Media Release

13 August 2002

Media release from Senator, the Hon Chris Ellison, Minister for Justice and Customs

A new national survey has found that livestock theft is experienced by eight out of 100 farms, almost twice the rate of residential burglary, the Minister for Justice and Customs Senator Chris Ellison announced today.

Senator Ellison was commenting after the release today of key findings from the first national survey of farm crime conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology.

"Anecdotal evidence has previously indicated that stock theft and theft of farm equipment are significant problems in rural Australia. This survey provides the first set of national estimates about the incidence and prevalence of farm crime and its cost," Senator Ellison said.

"During the survey period from July 2000 to June 2001, 27 percent of farms surveyed were victims of property crime. This is almost three times the rate of property crime among Australian households and is of significant concern to the Government," Senator Ellison said.

Other offences reported included unauthorised hunting or fishing (12 percent of farms), trespassing (10 percent of farms) and theft of farm vehicles, farm machinery, tools, spare parts, materials or farm produce (6 percent).

"While a majority of broadacre and dairy farmers in Australian enjoys a crime-free working environment a significant minority is affected by farm property crime," Senator Ellison said.

The total loss to farmers from crime was $63.3 million, or an average of $2,690 per victimised farm during the 2000-2001 financial year. Livestock theft accounted for 67 percent of the total loss or damage and 88 percent of the total loss of farm income.

"This survey forms the first part of a three-year project aimed at improving our knowledge about crime against farms and will assist the Government in developing effective crime prevention strategies. The next stage of the project will focus on the risks of crime victimisation and its effect on farm operations," Senator Ellison said.