Changes to the year ending June 2020 crime statistics

The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) is committed to continuous improvement and the production of high-quality statistics. As part of this commitment, the CSA constantly reviews its processes and data outputs. From 24 September 2020 there will be some changes made to the data released on the CSA website. These changes include the re-introduction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status statistics, improvements to the way we count Alleged offender incidents and the incorporation of additional investigation status information in the way we derive outcomes. 

The key changes and improvements are summarised below.  More information is available in the Explanatory notes. If you have any questions, please contact the CSA on (External link).


Re-release of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recorded crime statistics

The CSA obtains the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of people from Victoria Police who collect this information using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Standard Indigenous Question. The CSA withdrew the publication of Alleged offender statistics from public release in June 2019 due to declining data quality that rendered these statistics unreliable. CSA have been working with Victoria Police to improve the data for inclusion in the official crime statistics. The CSA reviewed the ‘most frequent’ counting rule used to derive our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics and found that a small modification to the application of this rule resulted in substantial data quality improvements, including further reducing unknown values in the dataset. This change - along with improved quality in the data supplied by Victoria Police - has resulted in the following data outputs reaching acceptable levels of quality for publication.

Re-release of Alleged offender status data

The CSA will now include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of Alleged offenders as part of the official crime statistics. These statistics will be available at the state level and for regions/local government areas.

First ever public release of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family incident data

For the first time, the CSA will release statistics on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of those involved in Family incidents as part of the official crime statistics. These data will be available at the state level and for regions/local government areas.


Improvements to Alleged offender incident data

Following a review of Alleged offender incident statistics, CSA have made changes to the counting rules for alleged offender incidents. These changes bring the alleged offender incident counts more in line with the suite of recorded crime statistics.

The Alleged offender incident statistics are compiled based upon the date that the offender was processed and recorded on the LEAP database. CSA data is extracted from the Victoria Police LEAP system 18 days after the end of a reference period. When these statistics were being calculated, a small number of Alleged offender incidents that had been updated due to an additional outcome (i.e. arrest made or summons issued) within this 18 day period after the end the reference period were erroneously excluded from the reference period as well. In these cases, the incident should be included in the official counts and the outcome recorded before the end of the reference period should have been used to represent the event. This has been rectified in the new statistics.

The previous counting rules counted every outcome recorded against an offender in relation to a criminal event. Outcomes can change and be added as an investigation proceeds. This resulted in an overcount of incidents in some cases, as one incident was counted for each outcome, even if it related to the same criminal event. This is not in line with the definition of an Alleged offender incident and does not relate logically back to the criminal event.

To reduce this overcount and more closely align the statistics with the definition of an alleged offender incident, the CSA has revised the counting rule. The new counting rule counts an alleged offender incident with the most recent outcome related to a criminal event only. For example, if an alleged offender incident is recorded as an ‘intent to summons’ by Victoria Police and then later updated to ‘summons’ when it is issued, then the summons would be used to represent the incident, see figure 1. Previously, this would have been counted as two separate incidents: an incident when the intent to summons was recorded and another incident when the summons was issued, although only one legal action had been taken against the offender. This new application has reduced the overall numbers of alleged offender incidents by removing the overcount of Alleged offender incidents. This new rule represents an alleged offender incident relating to a criminal event only once in the dataset.


Figure 1: Alleged offender incident outcomes and previous versus new counting rule.


These changes will be applied across the time series, comparison with previously released CSA data are not recommended. 


Addition of extra investigation status data

Investigation status of an offence is a data variable that the CSA derives from a number of data tables provided by Victoria Police. On review it was found that the CSA was not incorporating information about whether an offence was not authorised. After consultation with Victoria Police the CSA found that the authorised status of an offence is a valid outcome (a crime has occurred but the investigation, at the time, does not have enough information to proceed) and should be incorporated in the derivation of the CSA investigation status.

The revised process now incorporates information about authorised or not authorised status when deriving the CSA investigation status. This revision has resulted in offences with an outcome of ‘Intent to summons’ becoming a ‘Summons not authorised’, especially in previous years. These changes can be observed in the investigation outcomes of Recorded offences and Criminal incidents.

These changes will be applied across the time series, comparison with previously released CSA data are not recommended. 


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