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Other crime prevention and response costs

Security industry

The Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL) provided the data set out in Table 35 for private security turnover in 2012–13 (Bryan de Caires, ASIAL, personal communication). These data may overestimate the costs of private security for 2011–12 as they are relate to the financial year 2012–13—the only year for which data were provided. As was the case with previous AIC estimations, ASIAL indicated that between 60 and 75 percent of costs can be attributed to the crimes that the present report covers. For present purposes, the methodology used by Rollings (2008) was followed and 70 percent of the total costs have been used for this calculation.

Table 35 Expenditure on private security in Australia, 2012–13a,b
Category Cost ($m)
Hardware and electronics
Hardware and equipment (alarms, CCTV, access control) 760
Installation 810
Monitoring 390
Other 383
Total 2,343
Personnel costs including customer service/concierge, loss prevention/retail security, corporate risk, investigation services, cash management, armed escorts, ATM servicing, event security, critical infrastructure protection, passenger screening, mobile patrols, maritime security, crowd control 2,514
Overall total 4,857
Total to be attributed to crimes dealt with in this report (70% of total) 3,400

a: Industry estimate

b: Figures supplied relate to financial year 2012–13

Sarre and Prenzler (2011) undertook a comprehensive review of the private security industry in Australia in attempt to quantify the size of the industry and the legal and regulatory developments in the past 30 years. Sarre and Prenzler (2011) found that the private security population comprised 52,768 personnel in 2006 (from census data); however, they acknowledged that in 2008, regulatory authorities estimated the size of the industry at 112,773 security providers. The study found that the security industry in Australia was increasing in numbers at a higher rate than the police and the general population (Sarre & Prenzler 2011).

Insurance administration

Insurance Statistics Australia estimates a figure of $670m in Australia for 2011–12 as the cost of administering insurance for theft and damage involving domestic and commercial properties and private motor vehicles—approximately 4.0 percent of the gross value of written premiums (Nevena Mackic, on behalf of IGA, personal correspondence). No breakdown is available on the proportion that might relate to insurance claims made in respect of crime-related matters and so the total has been included in the current assessment.

Household precautions

Mayhew’s (2003b) original report estimating the costs associated with crime factored in other costs, aside from direct costs associated with specific crime types, such as the cost of people’s precautionary behaviour due to increased personal security. As the majority of the expenditure associated with locks and alarms was counted within security industry costs, Mayhew (2003b) costed the time spent by the average person on their precautionary behaviour as part of household precautions; specifically, the time spent per day locking and unlocking various locks. Following Mayhew’s (2003b) methodology, the time spent dealing with locks was four minutes a day, the costs of which, inflated to 2011 prices, resulted in a cost estimate of $161 per year per adult or approximately $2.36 billion annually.

Total costs of crime prevention and responding to crime

Table 36 shows the total expenditure on the various categories of ‘other’ costs of crime, which in 2011 amounted to $24.6b. Most of this expenditure arose from criminal justice system responses (including police, prosecutions, courts, corrections and a proportion of the costs of other government crime and criminal justice agencies). The next most costly category related to spending in the private security industry.

Table 36 Cost of crime prevention and responding to crime, 2011
Category Cost ($m)
Criminal justice 16,256
Victim assistance 1,877
Security 3,400
Insurance administration 670
Household precautions 2,360
Total 24,563
Last updated
3 November 2017