New CSA study finds chronic offenders responsible for large proportion of crime in Victoria

19 April 2018

A small number of chronic offenders were responsible for more than 40% of the offender incidents recorded by Victoria Police over a 10-year period, according to research released today by the Crime Statistics Agency.

The research revealed that 6.3% of offenders recorded during the 10 years to 30 June 2017 were responsible for 43.9% of the total offender incidents recorded in Victoria during that time.

These 26,315 individuals were each recorded for more than 10 offender incidents during the 10-year study period.

Crime Statistics Agency Chief Statistician Catherine Andersson said these findings were consistent with earlier Crime Statistics Agency research, as well as other research in Australia and internationally.

“Previous studies including those from New South Wales and the US have also found that a small number of chronic offenders were responsible for a large proportion of crime – Victoria is not unique in that sense,” Ms Andersson said.

“Our research found there were a small number of chronic offenders who were responsible for almost half the recorded offender incidents during the 10-year study period” she said. “However, this figure does not account for criminal incidents that remain unsolved and therefore do not identify an offender.”

Young people under the age of 25 (at the time their first offender incident was recorded within the study period) comprised 54.2% of the chronic offenders recorded for more than 10 offender incidents each.

“While there were fewer offenders aged under 25, a greater proportion were chronic offenders compared to those aged 25 years and over,” Ms Andersson said.

The majority of chronic offenders were male (83.3%) and were born in Australia (84.3%).

The most commonly recorded offence type for chronic offenders was non-aggravated burglary, followed by stealing from a retail store (average of 2.73 and 2.44 offender incidents per person respectively).

The most commonly recorded police outcome for chronic offenders was arrest, with individuals arrested for an average of 12.8 offender incidents each during the 10 year period.


The research paper Characteristics of chronic offenders in Victoria was released today. It examined the characteristics of alleged offenders recorded by police for at least one offender incident between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2017.

For further information please contact:
Dr Jacqueline Woerner, Crime Statistics Agency Research and Evaluation Manager
Phone: 8684 1828
Email: (External link)

Crime Statistics Agency
Crime Statistics Agency
Date of Publication


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