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New AIC Crime Prevention Handbook to Tackle Property Damage 

CrimBrief The Official Blog of the AIC

1 July 2014

Business groups and local governments are always looking for the best methods to prevent vandalism against property, whether the damage is caused by tagging with spray paint, break-ins aimed at trashing a property, or window smashing.

Such malicious property damage serves no purpose, but it has an estimated cost of $1,522 per incident (in 2012 dollars) and a total cost to the Australian community of nearly $2 billion each year.

The cost is borne not only by private property owners, local and state governments and businesses, but is also passed on through insurance costs to the public.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Crime Victimisation Survey 2011–2012, malicious property damage was more common than any other property offence, with 7.5 percent of respondents reporting having been a victim in the previous 12 months.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has just released a national guide: Tackling property damage: A guide for local commerce groups, councils and police in support of the Government’s broader Safer Streets program.

While many categories of crime are on the decline, an unfortunate fact is that property damage – vandalism and graffiti - still remain an intractable problem for property owners, business and local governments.

The guide highlights good research, planning, consultation and evaluation measures, with different strategies for specific problems.

This guide helps local groups understand:

  • the importance of crime data and where to find it
  • how to analyse local problems
  • enhancements that can be made around the built environment and security, and
  • evaluating the solutions.

Under the Government’s Safer Streets Program the intention is to provide communities with tools to assist them to develop the best local strategies to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

This step-by-step guide compiled by the AIC provides a plan to develop strategies for commercial groups and local Governments to head off the possibility of property damage of all kinds.

An example of graffiti

Based on work commissioned by the NSW Government’s Department of Attorney-General and Justice, the AIC, through its Crime Prevention ASSIST program, has broadened the content of this handbook to assist property owners around Australia.

This is a valuable reference and guide for community commerce groups, chambers of commerce, and local governments everywhere in Australia.

By AIC Deputy Director (Research), Dr Rick Brown

Posted: 1 July 2014 | | | | | |