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Reporting crime to police


The Australian Bureau of Statistics' publication Crime and Safety Australia presents findings from a household survey that collected data on the nature and extent of crime in the community. The publication includes information from individuals and households about their experience of selected crimes, as well as details regarding the most recent experience of crime such as whether it was reported to police. The results show that certain types of crime were more likely to be reported to police than others: generally household crimes were more likely to be reported than were personal crimes. The crime most likely to be reported to police was motor vehicle theft (95 per cent reporting rate) followed by break-in (75 per cent) and robbery (50 per cent). The reporting rate for assault was 31 per cent, while for sexual assault only 20 per cent of victims reported the crime to police. Reporting rates remained relatively unchanged between 1998 and 2002. Reasons for not reporting crimes to police varied by type of crime. One quarter of victims of break-in and one half of victims of robbery did not report the crime to police as they thought there was nothing that the police could or would do, while one quarter of victims of assault felt that the incident was a personal matter and they would take care of it themselves.

Police reporting rates for selected crimes, 1998 and 2002

*Female victims aged 18 years and over


  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003, Crime and Safety Australia, Catalogue no. 4509.0, ABS, Canberra.

Cite article

2003. Reporting crime to police. Crime facts info no. 58. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi058