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A safe and secure environment for older Australians

Research and public policy series no. 51

Marianne James, Adam Graycar and Pat Mayhew
ISBN 0 642 53807 7 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2003

Abstract

This report outlines the relationship between older Australians, crime, crime prevention and fear of crime. It is based on the findings of a questionnaire of relevant agencies which aimed to catalogue programs that increase the safety and security of older Australians, as well as focus groups which aimed to elicit how older people perceive crime in their local area and the types of strategies they would like to see introduced to make them feel more secure. The report discusses the risks for older Australians of becoming victim to various types of crime, and finds that, as in other Western countries, older people in Australia are far less likely to be victims of crime than people in other age groups. However crime is of particular concern to many older people, and the report recommends targeting strategies both to prevent victimisation and to counter older people's fears about becoming a victim of crime, as such fearfulness can potentially limit quality of life and lead to social isolation. Crime prevention and fear reduction programs for older people are best implemented at a local government level, as part of a community safety strategy, and in partnership with other key agencies and stakeholders.