Spotlight: Property damage offences

5.1 Introduction and scope

In the year ending 31 March 2016, Victoria Police recorded 43,641 property damage offences across the state, an offence rate of 720.9 offences per 100,000 people in Victoria. In five years the number of property damage offences has decreased by 10.5%, down from 48,778 offences in the year ending 31 March 2012.

Data for this spotlight has been extracted from the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program on 18 April 2016 and reflect criminal offences and alleged offender incidents based on crime recorded by Victoria Police. The data covers a five year period from March 2011 to April 2016.

Property damage offences are defined as any offence recorded in LEAP that has been coded to the CSA offence classification category “B20 Property damage”, and includes the following offence groups:

  • B21 Criminal damage
  • B22 Graffiti
  • B29 Other property damage offences

 

5.2 Prevalence of property damage offences

 

Apr 2011 - Mar 2012

Apr 2012 - Mar 2013

Apr 2013 - Mar 2014

Apr 2014 - Mar 2015

Apr 2015 - Mar 2016

Number of property damage offences

48,778

46,931

44,944

42,066

43,641

Offence rate per 100,000 population

866.0

818.5

769.8

708.5

720.9

Alleged offender incidents

8,182

8,926

9,723

8,902

10,491

Offender incident rate per 100,000 population

145.3

155.7

166.5

149.9

173.3

 

The number of property damage offences has decreased every year from April 2011 to March 2015 to reach its lowest level in five years at 42,066 (down 13.8% compared to April to March 2012), before increasing in the year to March 2016 by 3.7%. Despite this increase however, the rate of property damage is still lower than the rate of offending five years ago. 

In the year ending 31 March 2016, there were 10,491 alleged offender incidents with a principal offence of property damage, an increase of 17.8% (1,589 offences). The offender incident rate per 100,000 people is 173.3, a 15.6% increase compared to the same period last year.

 

5.3 Trends over time

The graph below shows the number of property damage offences recorded each quarter from April 2011 to March 2016.

 

Number of property damage offences recorded, April 2011 to March 2016

Number of property damage offences recorded, April 2011 to March 2016

 

5.4 Property damage offences by type

In the year to 31 March 2016, Criminal damage offences comprised approximately 91.7% of all property damage offences, with Graffiti offences and other property damage offences making up the remaining 8.3% of all offences recorded.

 

Property offences recorded by offence group, April 2013 to March 2016

Property offences recorded by offence group, April 2013 to March 2016

 

5.5 Property damage offences across Victoria

Police region

Apr 2011 - Mar 2012

Apr 2012 - Mar 2013

Apr 2013 - Mar 2014

Apr 2014 - Mar 2015

Apr 2015 - Mar 2016

North West Metro

16,040

15,865

15,011

14,204

14,924

Eastern

12,437

11,647

11,153

10,561

10,672

Southern Metro

10,732

10,671

10,183

9,268

9,723

Western

9,569

8,748

8,596

8,032

8,322

 

The North West Metro region has consistently had the highest number of property damage offences. In 2016, the Local Government Areas within the North West Metro region with the highest number of recorded offences were Melbourne (1,770), Hume (1,689), Brimbank (1,517), Whittlesea (1,278) and Wyndham (1,195).

However, accounting for population figures, the Local Government Areas across Victoria with the highest rate of property damage offences per 100,000 population were Horsham (2,725.5), Latrobe (2,202.9), Northern Grampians (1441.2), Glenelg (1,312.0) and Benalla (1,305.1).

 

Property damage offence rate per 100,000 by Local Government Area, April 2015 to March 2016

Property damage offence rate per 100,000 by Local Government Area, April 2015 to March 2016

 

5.6 Type of location where property damage offences occur

Of the 43,641 property damage offences that were recorded in the year ending 31 March, 48.1% (20,972) took place at a residential location, 33.5% (14,610) were recorded at a community location, and 15.1% (6,574) at a other location, with the remaining 3.4% (1,485) having a missing or unknown location type.

 

Property damage offences recorded by location type, April 2011 to March 2016

Property damage offences recorded by location type, April 2011 to March 2016

 

5.7 Investigation status of recorded offences

Investigation status

Apr 2011 - Mar 2012

Apr 2012 - Mar 2013

Apr 2013 - Mar 2014

Apr 2014 - Mar 2015

Apr 2015 - Mar 2016

Arrest

4,506

5,141

5,563

6,180

7,266

Summons

5,444

5,546

6,242

6,209

5,404

Caution

769

752

773

559

485

Other

1,704

1,635

1,505

902

643

Intent to Summons

2,057

2,650

2,654

2,540

3,428

Unsolved

34,298

31,207

28,207

25,676

26,415

Total

48,778

46,931

44,944

42,066

43,641

 

Of the 43,641 offences recorded for property damage offences, 60.5% (26,415) remained unsolved as at 18 April 2016 when the data was extracted. There were 16.6% (7,266) of offences that resulted in an arrest and 12.4% (5,404) of offences resulted in a summons being issued.

5.8 Characteristics of victims

In the year ending 31 March 2016, there were 37,616 victim reports recorded with a principal offence of property damage. This was an increase of 3.1% (1,140 victim reports) from the year ending March 2015.

The proportion of victims of property damage were evenly split between males (33.7% or 12,677 victim reports) and females (32.9% or 12,357 victim reports). Businesses comprised 31.1% of all victim reports in the year ending March 2016, with business victims decreasing by 17.9% compared to the same period five years ago.

 

Victim reports by sex and age, April to March 2016

Victim reports by sex and age, April to March 2016

Of the 12,677 male victims, the largest age group was 25 – 29 years which accounted for 10.8% (1,370) of all male offenders. The next highest age groups were 40 – 44 years (1,354) and 30 – 34 years (1,326).

Of the 12,357 female offenders, the largest age group was 40 – 44 years which accounted 11.9% of female offenders.

 

5.9 Alleged offender incidents

In the year ending 31 March 2016, there were 10,491 recorded alleged offender incidents with a principal offence of property damage. This was an increase of 17.8% (1,589 offender incidents) from the year ending March 2015.

Male offenders were involved in 83.7% (8,778) of the alleged offender incidents, while 16.2% (1,696 offender incidents) involved a female offender. The remaining incidents involved an offender with an unknown sex.

 

Alleged offender incidents by sex and age, April to March 2016

Alleged offender incidents by sex and age, April to March 2016

Of the 8,778 male offenders, the largest age group was 15 – 19 years which accounted for 26.8% (2,356) of all male offenders. The next highest age groups were 20 – 24 years (1,510) and 25 – 29 years (1,166).

Of the 1,696 female offenders, the largest age group was also the 15 – 19 years which accounted for 21.5% of female offenders.

As at 18 April 2016, 67.1% (7,043) of alleged offender incidents had resulted in an arrest or summons, while 26.5% (2,777) had resulted in an intent to summons and 6.4% (669) of offenders were issued with a caution or warning.

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