Crime statistics in Western Australia, what are the facts? 🔍

Do you feel safe in Western Australia?

Are West Australian crime rates dropping or are they increasing? Which category of crime is escalating? All of those answers are here. We will compare the category of crime and the trends as a comparison between the first quarter of 2016 (Jan, Feb and Mar) to the first quarter of 2017.

“We want to know, are things improving or getting worse?”

Sexual Assault

Comparison of reported sexual assault rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April. Note: “recent” and “historical” sexual assaults categories have been combined into this graph.

Sexual assault ranges from inappropriate touching of a person to violent rape. This crime makes my blood boil as sexual activity is a very intimate thing by nature, forcing it upon a victim leaves very deep emotional scarring long after the crime has been committed.

In WA, sexual assault levels are fairly high. By comparison, South Australia had an average of 153 reported sexual assaults between Jan-Apr 2017. Western Australia had an average of 366 sexual assaults reported during the same period. This includes “historical” sexual assault which is assault that had occurred some time ago or even during childhood. “Recent” sexual assault is that which has just occurred or at a recent point in time.

Comparison of reported “historical” and “recent” sexual assault rates as a percentage in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

In February of 2017 there is a large spike in comparison to the same time the previous year and just in general. There were 553 sexual assaults reported during this period. There is also a dip in April of 2017, where there were 189 sexual assaults reported. The reason is not known as to why the dramatic increase and decreases occurred.

Verdict: Overall, in 2017, sexual assaults reported increased by 10.9%. However, the context of each report is not known. 2017 may have been higher but 2016 incidences may have been more severe.


Domestic Assault

Comparison of reported domestic assault rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

Australia in general is known for its abnormally high rates of domestic violence. In the majority of cases, the victim is female and connected to the offender by marriage. With an average of 1302 occurrences per month, this quadruples the number of sexual assaults in the same period. It appears that in January of each year, the number of incidences reported was marginally higher. You could speculate that this may be linked to the holiday period and a higher than normal consumption of alcohol.

Verdict: The silver lining is that reported domestic assaults decreased overall by 13.9% in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016.


Non-Domestic Assault

Comparison of reported non-domestic assault rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

Non-domestic assaults reported remain consistent throughout the year and during our comparison period. In April 2016, the numbers dipped slightly to 959 but this is really a minor difference. There were an average of 1,069 reported incidences per month in 2017.

Verdict: Reports of non-domestic violence are so consistent that the difference is a 0.64% increase in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. Not even a single percentage difference. This reveals that non-domestic assaults are a pillar crime in our community, this fact should not be tolerated.


Threatening Behaviour

Comparison of reported threatening behaviour rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

These threats may or may not result in physical harm but the threat itself warrants a chargeable crime. Reports of threatening behaviour remain fairly constant and whether or not they wind up in the domestic or non-domestic assault category as an end result is unknown. I imagine this would be a very difficult crime to press charges especially if its verbal only with no witnesses.

Verdict: Reports of threatening behaviour slightly decreased by 2% in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016.


Burglary

Comparison of reported burglary rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April. Note: “dwelling” and “non-dwelling” burglary categories have been combined into this graph.

There is a slight difference between a“dwelling” and non-dwelling” burglary. A “dwelling” burglary is when a building that people occupy as a home is robbed such as a house or apartment. A “non-dwelling” burglary is when a building that is not utilised as a home is robbed, such as office buildings or warehouse. In WA, most burglaries are “dwelling” burglaries which makes up around 75% of the total burglaries reported (this goes for both 2016 and 2017).

Comparison of reported “dwelling” and “non-dwelling” burglary rates as a percentage in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

There are no significant differences between 2016 and 2017 in terms of burglary rates. In both years, burglary rates are higher in January. This can be expected as many people are away on holiday, leaving their homes unoccupied.

Verdict: Reports of burglaries decreased by 9% in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. Although burglary levels are high, this is a good result for West Australians.


Theft

Comparison of reported theft rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April. Note: this data does not include motor vehicle theft.

Theft is the most widespread crime in Western Australia by the figures. Over 30,000 thefts reported between the months of Jan-Apr alone. This number is intimidating but the good news is that since such a broad range of items can be stolen, some thefts reported are often not serious.

It’s obviously not good to have something that belongs to you taken away but usually the victim is not harmed. Items stolen can be as insignificant as a chocolate bar or as significant as very expensive jewellery. This disparity contributes to the high number recorded.

Verdict: Reports of theft decreased by 7% in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016.


Homicide

Comparison of homicide rates in Western Australia for 2016 and 2017 covering the period between January-April.

Loss of life as a result of a crime is unacceptable and when it occurs it not only shocks our state but our nation as a whole. Although homicide rates in WA are relatively low, in 2017 the result was 3 additional deaths in comparison to the same period in 2016. A death of a person, although it can be attributed to many factors, is ultimately a failure of our crime prevention system.

Verdict: Reports of homicide increased by 12.5% in 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016.


Conclusion

All categories of reported crime are down except for sexual assault and homicide rates. This is generally good news but of course we would like crime rates to be plummeting each year consecutively, ideally to be eliminated all together. We are just hitting the halfway point of 2017, let’s see what the trends look like by the end of the year.


Extra food for thought…..

What always hangs in the back of my mind is that these numbers are only based on “reported” incidences. It concerns me that there are still many crimes being committed under the radar that officials do not know about. This could push the figures through the roof. This is part of the motivation that drives us at Saven 🕊.