New crime stats undermine knife crime perception

Media Release
New crime stats undermine knife crime perception
6 September 2010

The latest crime statistics, released today by Victoria Police, confirm that assaults and robberies with knives are down significantly over the past ten years, throwing into doubt the need for harsh new police powers and tougher penalties aimed at young people.

“Victoria Police data shows that per head of population, assaults with knives are down 12% and robberies with knives are down 61% across the past ten years” said Smart Justice spokesperson, Hugh de Kretser. “These figures undermine the perception of a knife crime crisis.”

“Any violence is unacceptable and we need to do more to prevent violence. But the response needs to be based on the facts, and the police statistics show that robberies and assaults with knives are down over the past ten years. These figures confirm that we don’t need to undermine human rights through radical police search powers in order to reduce knife-related violence,” Mr de Kretser said.

More broadly, the new police data shows that overall crime in Victoria has dropped for the ninth consecutive year. Measured as a rate per 100,000 of population, the overall crime rate has fallen almost 30% since 2000/01.

Per head of population, assaults not arising from family incidents dropped slightly measured against the previous year, while assaults arising from family incidents rose 8%. The recorded rise in family incidents may be partly due to better police responses to family violence.

Mr de Kretser said, “This assault data shows that while Victoria Police has taken significant positive steps to deal with family violence, more needs to be done. Too often the debate is focused on street violence when around 40% of assaults happen in residential locations.”

Knife data

Year

Offences recorded - Robberywhere a knife was used/threatened/displayed

Offences per 100,000 population

Offences recorded - Assaultwhere a knife was used/threatened/displayed

Offences per 100,000 population

2000/01

1379

28.7

1056

22.0

2009/10

612

11.1

1065

19.4

Source: Victoria Police Crime Statistics 2009/10 and 2000/01. Victorian population figures are taken from Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated resident population figures as at 31 December in the relevant year (ABS 3101.0)

Further information:
Hugh de Kretser 0403 965 340 Kerry O’Shea 0401 107 103 www.smartjustice.org.au


Smart Justice factsheet on Crime Statistics to be released soon
 

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