The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) presents statistics about the characteristics of crime recorded by Victoria Police in the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP). The following explanatory notes are designed to provide additional information about the data the CSA receives from Victoria Police, how it is processed and how to interpret the summary statistics.
The crime statistics produced by the CSA are derived from administrative information recorded by Victoria Police and extracted from the LEAP database. Victoria Police provides this information to the CSA 18 days after the end of the reference period.
As the LEAP database is a live operational crime recording system and updated regularly, the CSA data reflects information in the database at the date and time of data extraction. This means that as additional quarters of data are released by the CSA, the data relating to previous periods may change as data are updated in LEAP, investigations progress and cases are completed by Victoria Police.
Previously published data should be considered superseded by subsequent releases of statistics.
Scope and coverage
The CSA recorded crime collection includes all offences that are reported to, and detected by, Victoria Police and recorded on the LEAP database. The scope and coverage of the data, however, is not representative of all crime that occurs in Victoria. Some crimes may not be recorded on LEAP, not be reported to police, or the responsibility for responding to certain offences may lie with another agency.
The following data are not available to the CSA and are not included in these statistics:
missing person details;
police custody information;
regulatory activity not directly undertaken by Victoria Police, including infringement issuing and management;
Victoria Police staff and human resource management information (including financial and asset information);
information about Victoria Police operations and taskforces;
areas of Victoria managed by federal agencies, such as crown land and Melbourne airport, which are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Federal Police;
investigations managed by Australian Government agencies, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission; and
information related to prosecutions.
Data in the CSA Crime by location webpage excludes offences that are recorded in LEAP but were committed outside Victoria, and where a Local Government Area (LGA) is not recorded.
Comparisons between Victoria Police and Crime Statistics Agency statistics
The following outlines differences in the scope and counting rules of recorded crime statistics produced by Victoria Police until 31 December 2014 and from 1 January 2015 by the CSA. Crime statistics previously produced by Victoria Police excluded the following Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) which are now included in CSA counts:
- 549MP - CONTRAVENE POLICE DIRECTION TO MOVE ON
- 596A - DRUNK IN PUBLIC PLACE
- 596B - DRUNK AND DISORDERLY IN PUBLIC PLACE
- 599HC - BEHAVE IN DISORDERLY MANNER PUBLIC PLACE
Where a single offence has multiple weapons recorded against it, Victoria Police historically selected the first weapon to appear in the dataset for the particular offence, based upon how the data had been entered. The CSA selects the most serious weapon that appears on the record (for example, a handgun will be selected over a knife, and so on).
The CSA developed an offence classification for statistical output purposes. This offence classification has been mapped to all raw offences recorded by Victoria Police. In comparison with the categories used historically by Victoria Police for statistical reporting, the CSA offence classification contains more detailed categories and reduced the number of offences mapped to Other, Missing and Unknown categories.
Comparisons between Victoria and other jurisdictions
Law enforcement agencies in each jurisdiction/state are subject to different policing practices, policies and legislation. As a result the data from other jurisdictions/states are not directly comparable with the official Victoria crime statistics released by the CSA. Information released by the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics may have data that has been deemed suitable for comparison across jurisdictions/states.
The reference period is the length of time that the statistics relate to. The CSA will produce three quarterly year-to-date statistical reports each year, and one annual statistical report for the financial year. Each report is based primarily on 12 months of data with different reference periods. This is outlined in the table below:
|Report title||Reference period||Month of release|
|Annual report to 30 June||1 July to 30 June||September|
|Year ending 30 September||1 October to 30 September||December|
|Year ending 31 December||1 January to 31 December||March|
|Year ending 31 March||1 April to 31 March||June|
The ‘Latest crime data ’ section of the website shows the most recently published statistics. Links to previous data are available from the ‘Historical crime data ’ section of the website. The data presented in the crime by location webpage covers 10 years of statistics at the LGA level. More detailed LGA data and information about specific suburbs or towns are available in the tables below the data visualisation.
Quarterly crime statistics produced by the CSA are based on a rolling 12 month set of statistics that collate four quarters of data. As such, three quarters from the previous reference period are carried forward into the next 12 month period, with the addition of the most recent quarter. This means that changes that may occur within one quarter will be included in four different crime statistics releases.
The reference period is different depending on the period of time that the rolling 12 months of data cover. For example, data for the January to December reference period refers to the 12 month period beginning on the 1st of January through to the 31st of December of that year. In the March to April reference period that directly follows the January to December period, nine months of data from the previous reference period (April to December) is used with three months of new data (January to March) to compile a 12 month time period for analysis. This is outlined in the diagram below:
Reference periods based on the date records are created
The reference periods are based on the date that information is created in LEAP, regardless of when the offence occurred or when it was reported to police. The date the record was created is used because it is the date most consistently recorded on LEAP.
Recorded criminal incidents
A recorded criminal incident is a criminal event that may include multiple offences, alleged offenders and/or victims that is recorded on the LEAP database on a single date and at one location.
Any incidents where Victoria Police have deemed that no offence occurred, or where no further police action is required (such as caution not authorised or summons not authorised) are excluded from the criminal incident counts. The exception to this are incidents that have occurred and been recorded by police, but where a person later withdraws their complaint. As these still represent a criminal incident, they will continue to be included in the recorded crime statistics.
Where there were multiple offences or charges recorded within one criminal incident, a single offence or charge is assigned to represent the most serious crime committed for statistical purposes, known as the principal offence (see Principal variable calculations).
Date of record creation
Recorded criminal incident data are compiled on the basis of the date that the principal offence was created on the LEAP database, rather than the date the principal offence was detected by, or reported to police. The record create date may differ from the date when the incident occurred, or the date when the incident came to the attention of police.
The date the principal offence was created is used because it is the date most consistently recorded on LEAP, and cannot be edited or updated. The date an offence was reported and the date an offence was committed can both be updated and changed at any stage of an investigation.
Recorded offences include any criminal act or omission by a person or organisation for which a penalty could be imposed by the Victorian legal system.
- was reported to, or detected by, Victoria Police; and,
- was first recorded in LEAP within the reference period.
Date of record creation
Alleged offender incidents
Date of result
Date of record creation
A family incident is an incident attended by Victoria Police where a Victoria Police Risk Assessment and Risk Management Report (also known as an L17 form) was completed. Victoria Police rolled out new L17 forms in July 2019, see Operational changes affecting recorded crime statistics for further details.
A family incident can involve one or more affected family members and/or one or more other parties. For statistical purposes, these are counted as one incident but may appear multiple times in demographic counts.
The overall increase in the number of recorded family incidents has in part been due to improved recording of incidents. Since 2011, initiatives such as the Family Violence Code of Practice have been put in place by Victoria Police to improve the recording of family incidents, the individuals involved and the offences committed. Due to the changes in these business practices, policies and legislation comparisons to data prior to 2012 are not advised. Accordingly, the CSA will release Family incident data and Recorded offence/Criminal incident data with a family violence flag as a five year time series until there are sufficient data to produce a ten year time series. For further data please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Demographic characteristics of affected family members and other parties
Date of record creation
Harm caused by crime
Categorical presentation of harm caused by crime
The CSA offence classification is used to group offences into categories that are representative of similar criminal behaviours. The Harm caused by crime measure excludes offence types that by definition are solely against a business, organisation or the state. The Harm caused by crime measure includes 47 crime types that are applicable to person victims. These crime types are then assigned to one of the three harm categories (high, medium and low) that were the product of research undertaken by the CSA, and reflect the views of Victorians about the harm perceived to impact a victim of a specific type of crime.
The figure below displays each harm category, its key elements and the offence types included in each category.
|Category||Key elements||Crime Offence Groups included in category|
Principal variable calculations
Some variables in the recorded crime dataset may legitimately have more than one item recorded against them. To represent this data in a summary form, the multiple responses are ordered using hierarchical classifications, which allow the CSA to select a principal response to represent each record.
Offence categories presented in the criminal incidents, alleged offender incidents and victim report tables refer to the principal offence representing the incident. Where there is only a single offence attached to a unique incident, that offence is the principal offence by default. Where multiple offences are recorded within the same incident, a principal offence is assigned using the CSA Offence Index.
For criminal incidents, the CSA will represent the incident by displaying the most serious charge laid. If no charges were laid, the most serious offence recorded will be presented.
CSA Offence Index
The CSA Offence Index is a tool by which the seriousness of offence types can be ranked against each other in order to calculate the most serious offence (principal offence). The CSA Offence Index was largely adapted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Offence Index (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001). The diagram below describes examples of how the principal offence is determined based on seriousness.
Example Incident A: Where an incident involves one offence of Murder, one offence of Stalking and one offence of Breach of bail, the principal offence would be presented as Murder.
Example Incident B: Where an incident involves one offence of Serious assault and one offence of Offensive language, the principal offence would be presented as Serious assault.
Example Incident C: Where an incident involves only one offence of Graffiti, then the principal offence would be presented as Graffiti by default.
For offences where more than one location type is recorded, the location type is selected based on the following hierarchy:
- Residential location
- Community location
- Other location
For more information on the location type index, please see the location type classification .
For victim reports where more than one relationship type is recorded, the relationship type is selected based on the following hierarchy:
- Current partner
- Former partner
- Family member
- Non family member
- Not related/associated
- Cannot be determined
For more information on the relationship type index, please see the relationship type classification .
Recorded crime statistics for offences, criminal incidents, alleged offender incidents, victim reports and family incidents are presented by Police Region and LGA. The CSA also presents offences and criminal incidents data by postcode and suburb. For more information on the geographic locations used in the CSA data please see the geographic location hierarchy .
The CSA has analysed the recording of geographic data in LEAP and has found that there are some inconsistencies which impact the overall quality of location-specific information. The CSA has used a combination of different location variables received from Victoria Police to improve the quality of location data, which better represents where a specific incident occurred. This work has improved the quality of location-based information to inform the public about where crime occurs across the state, and has been implemented for offences and recorded incidents data. These changes are visible in the data published for Recorded offences and Criminal incidents in the year ending June 2017 release onwards.
From the year ending September 2019 data the CSA updated the ABS geography used to reflect the changes applied after the 2019 Census. The files used are as follows:
- 1270.0.55.001 – Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 – Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas
- 1270.0.55.001 – Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 – Non ABS Structures.
This improved location information process has been applied to all CSA data populations, including Alleged offender incidents, Victim reports and Family incidents, from the year ending September 2019.
For the purposes of statistical reporting, a number of facilities are now counted separately from the LGA, postcode or locality in which they are located. These include correctional facilities, youth justice facilities and immigration detention centres, and are categorised as ‘Justice institution or immigration facility’. These facilities are counted separately for recorded offences and criminal incidents from the year ending June 2017 release onwards and from the year ending September 2019 this was across all data populations.
The CSA identifies justice institutions or immigration facilities by using a combination of street address, location type and location description variables. If there is uncertainty about where an incident occurs (due to deficiencies with address and location recoding), the CSA will continue to show the offence in the crime counts for the area (at LGA, postcode or suburb/town level).
The following are included in the ‘Justice institution or immigration facility’ category:
The Grevillea Youth Justice Precinct was gazetted from 17 November 2016 to 23 May 2017 and shared the same street address as Barwon Prison. Criminal incidents recorded by Victoria Police that occurred at the Precinct during its operation are unable to be separately identified, and are included in the counts for Barwon Prison.
Incidents that occur at facilities such as Corella Place or Emu Creek are included in this category, as the CSA cannot effectively distinguish between these locations and the adjacent prison using the location recorded by Victoria Police.
The following locations have been excluded from this category:
- Melbourne Custody Centre – This centre cannot be distinguished from the courts in the data, and is not deemed a justice institution that permanently holds prisoners. However, convicted or unconvicted persons may be detained temporarily in these facilities.
- Thomas Embling Hospital – This hospital is a partially secure facility that treats patients from within the criminal justice system and the mental health system, however not all patients within this facility are serving correctional sentences.
- Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place –this is a transitional facility for offenders on Community Corrections orders and is used to provide services such as employment, education and life skills.
- Police cells – as police cells are managed by Victoria Police and do not permanently hold convicted offenders, these are not considered justice institutions or immigration facilities. However, convicted or unconvicted persons may be detained for a short period of time in these facilities.
Any incidents that occur at these locations will still be included in localised crime counts.
- Offence rate = (Offence count/ERP count) *100,000
- Criminal incident rate = (Criminal incident count/ERP count) *100,000
- Alleged offender rate = (Alleged offender incident count/ERP count for persons 10 years and over^) *100,000
- LGA alleged offender rate = (Alleged offender incident count/ERP count^^) *100,000
- Victimisation rate = (Person victim report count/ERP count) *100,000
- Family incident rate = (Family incident count/ERP count) *100,000
From the year ending September 2019 the Alleged offender rates have been revised to include the population that reflects the age of criminal responsibility, 10 years old and over. As LGA population figures by age are not available for the most current year LGA rates are calculated using the total LGA population (includes persons less than 10 years of age). The new rate calculations have been back cast across all data released on the website.
From the year ending September 2019 the Victimisation rate has been revised to include only person victims. Prior to this time rates were calculated using person and organisation/business victims. Person only rates are now calculated as there is no organisation/business population available to use as the denominator for rate calculations. The new rate calculations have been back cast across all data released on the website.
Due to these rate calculation changes, the CSA advises that data released from September 2019 should not be compared with previously released CSA recorded crime statistics.
Source data for rate calculations
ERPs for both Victoria and Local Government Areas are based on populations produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For years prior to the current reference period, the ERP used to calculate offence rates is the ABS ERP. ABS ERP data comes from two publications:
- ERP by age and sex are collected from 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Sept 2019 (Released at 11:30AM (Canberra time) 19 March 2020 – downloaded 23 April 2020).
- ERP by LGA are collected from 3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia 2018-19 (Released at 11:30AM (Canberra time) 25 March 2020 - downloaded 23 April 2020).
ERPs for data in the current reference period are based on official state government population projections produced by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) via ‘Victoria in Future ’ (VIF) program. The VIF figures for 2020 have not yet been released due to the need to account for COVID-19 changes in migration patterns. In consultation with DELWP, the CSA has reduced the 2019 VIF population estimates for 2020 (6,729,626) to make an adjustment to the interstate and overseas migration that was impacted as a result of COVID restrictions, see calculated figure in table below.
^The ERP figures for persons aged 10 years and over are used as this is representative of the age of criminal responsibility.
^^The ERP figures used to calculate LGA rates do not account for the age of criminal liability (includes persons less than 10 years of age).
Victorian population figures used for year ending March 2020 publication
|ABS - Australian Demographic Statistics||Victoria in future|
|Apr 2015 - Mar 2016||Apr 2016 - Mar 2017||Apr 2017 - Mar 2018||Apr 2018 - Mar 2019||Apr 2019 - Mar 2020|
24 month trend test - Kendall's tau
- Less than 30 incidents/offences in any month – This approximates to one incident/offence per day and ensures that there is sufficient data of a sufficient quality before it is analysed.
- Percentage Proportion threshold (<0.1% of all recorded incidents/offences) – To ensure that the data for a particular category contributes a meaningful proportion of the overall before it is analysed.
This two-pronged threshold, means that Offence categories and LGA’s will only be excluded if the number of incidents/offences recorded are less than 30 in any given month and the proportion of overall criminal incidents/offences is less than 0.1%. Note that in very few circumstances, the significance test will show a significant trend, even when the yearly percentage change is very low or in the opposite direction. In other cases, the test will be nonsignificant, even when the yearly percentage change is very high. This can occur in cases where there are seasonal or non-linear variations in the data, or if extreme spikes in the data are present. Kendall’s Rank Order Correlation test is not robust against these variations, and is only sensitive to generally increasing and decreasing trends.
The CSA has an obligation to protect the privacy of individuals and has implemented Data confidentiality policy and procedures to ensure people are unlikely to be identified through data released by the Agency. Confidentialising data involves removing or altering information or collapsing detail (through application of statistical disclosure controls) to mitigate the risk that a person or organisation may be identified in the data (either directly or indirectly).
Alleged offender incidents, Victim reports and Family incidents data contain person-based datasets and include demographic information. Therefore, these datasets are subject to confidentialisation to ensure the anonymity of individuals is protected where numbers are small and there is a reasonable likelihood that a person may be identified from the data published. The CSA also confidentialises sensitive crime offence types (e.g. homicide and sexual offences). For these data the CSA confidentialises cells in a table that range from 1 to 3. This is denoted in the tables by the value “≤ 3”.
For the purpose of calculating row and column totals, each cell from 1 to 3 is assigned a value of 2, regardless of the true number of that cell. This methodology allows for totals to be calculated in tables with small cells, but this does mean that totals for certain variables may not be the same across tables within a publication or set of data cubes. This process is applied prior to the release of statistical data by the CSA.
To release more data at the LGA level the CSA has also applied a specific LGA confidentialisation rule for the person-based datasets, Alleged offender incidents, Victim reports and Family incidents. Data will not be displayed for demographic LGA tables that contain more than a third of data with a value of less than 4 (including zero). For tables that include principal offence types data will be excluded where counts are ≤ 3.
Legislative changes affecting recorded crime statistics
In July 2017 the Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Act 2016 came into effect. This act created new offences and expanded existing child pornography offences, and also introduced the new broader term ‘child abuse material’. The act also introduced the new offence of ‘sexual activity directed at another person’ which covers a broader range of intimidating behaviour occurring in public or private, expanding on the existing wilful and obscene exposure offences (currently recorded under D23 Offensive conduct).
Breach of bail conditions
Amendments to the Bail Act 1977 which were introduced in December 2013 inserted the following sections into the act:
- S30A Offence to contravene certain conduct conditions
- S30B Offence to commit indictable offence whilst on bail
These amendments resulted in the introduction of two new offence codes on LEAP. There has subsequently been an increase in the number of offences recorded against the category Breach of bail conditions.
For further information, refer to the Spotlight: Breaches of orders – The Impact of Legislative Changes on the website.
Breach of family violence orders
The Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Matters) Act 2012 inserted the following sections into the Family Violence Protection Act 2008:
- S37A Contravention of notice intending to cause harm or fear for safety
- S123A Contravention of order intending to cause harm or fear for safety
- S125A Persistent contravention of notices and orders
Sections 37A and 123A make it an indictable offence to contravene a Family Violence Safety Notice or Family Violence Intervention Order where there was intention to cause harm or fear of safety to the person protected by the notice or order.
Section 125A makes it an indictable offence to persistently contravene Family Violence Safety Notices or Family Violence Intervention Orders.
The above amendments came into effect in April 2013 and resulted in the introduction of three new offence codes on LEAP. There has been a subsequent increase in the number of offences recorded against the category Breach of family violence orders.
Operational changes affecting recorded crime statistics
Introduction of Police Assistance Line (PAL) and Online Reporting (OLR)
Victoria Police introduced the Police Assitance Line (PAL) and Online Reporting Service (OLR) service for non-urgent crimes state-wide on 1 July 2019 (a trial took place in a limited areas from 28 February 2019). This method of contacting police has been introduced to capture the following crime types:
- Theft of Motor Vehicle
- Theft from Motor Vehicle
- Theft (Bicycle)
- Theft (Other)
- Residential Burglary
- Burglary (Other)
- Property damage
PAL and OLR can assist the public by taking non-urgent crime reports, where an urgent crime is reported these matters are referred onto police immediately. The information taken at the time of these report may not reflect the data captured in the LEAP database as this reflects the offence type recorded following Victoria Police processing. For more information about the introduction of this new method of reporting crimes please contact Victoria Police directly. For LEAP data that originated from PAL or OLR please see the relevant table on the Recorded Offence webpage.
Victoria Police Recording of the Standard Indigenous Question
Victoria Police captures the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of individuals in their databases using the Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ). Over time, the quality of the SIQ data item provided by Victoria Police has been declining, with the number of Unknown Indigenous status increasing over the last five years.
In February 2019 Victoria Police identified an issue with the extraction of responses to the SIQ from LEAP. Victoria Police have advised that this extraction issue may be contributing to the declining data quality. Due to current levels of missing data the CSA will not release Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status as part of the standard quarterly statistics. This information will only be available via the CSA data consultancy service . Once Victoria Police investigates and resolves this issue the CSA will recommence publication of these data.
Victoria Police introduction of revised L17 Form
In response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence Victoria Police implemented the new Family Violence Report (L17) form state-wide on the 22 July 2019. The new forms collect information about presence of alcohol or drugs, number of children present and a number of other items in a different way to the original L17 form.
The form had been trialled from 9 June 2016 in police divisions ND2 and ND3 (Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Brimbank and Melton).This change in recording practice may result in an undercount of these items at a family incident in Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Brimbank and Melton for the trial period until the state-wide rollout.
With the state-wide rollout of the new form, from the year ending September 2019, comparison with previously released CSA data is not recommended.
Victoria Police recording practice at Youth Justice Institutions
The CSA has noted that Victoria Police recording practices show variability in Youth Justice Precincts of Malmsbury and Parkville. The CSA has updated its methodology that identifies these incidents that occur at these locations to capture this variation. For more detail please refer to the section on Justice and Immigration Institutional Facilities.
Recording of ‘Fail to stop’ offences
From 13 July 2015, Victoria police changed their operational procedures in relation to ‘Fail to stop’ offences. These changes have led to these offences now being recorded in LEAP and included in the extract of recorded crime data provided to the CSA. This previously resulted in an increase in the number of offences recorded against the following Road Safety Act (1986) offences:
- 749AUC Fail to stop vehicle on direction
- 749XM Fail to stop vehicle on request.
As a result, there has been an increase in the CSA offence category ‘E13 Resist or hinder officer’ since October 2015. For the current reference period there were only offences recorded for ‘749AUC Fail to stop vehicle on direction’.
Commit indictable offence whilst on bail
In November 2014, Victoria Police changed their operational procedures for the recording of some breach of bail charges, affecting the way these offences are captured for recorded crime statistics. This change has impacted the number of offences recorded for ‘527Z Commit indictable offence whilst on bail’, and as a result the number of offences recorded in this category may be understated.
This change has not had any impact on the recording of other breach of bail offences in LEAP. The CSA is assessing the impact of this change for future releases.
For further information, refer to the Spotlight: Breaches of orders – The Impact of Legislative Changes on the website.
Abbreviations used in the data
For ease of reading, some CSA offence terms have been abbreviated throughout this publication. The term 'and related offences' has been omitted from the following CSA offence category names:
- Homicide and related offences
- Assault and related offences
- Abduction and related offences
In addition, the following CSA offence terms have been abbreviated as follows:
- Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour appears as 'Stalking/harassment'
- Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons appears as 'Dangerous/negligent acts'
Where required, the CSA may revise historical data in the most recent statistical releases to reflect the most up to date information recorded.