Spotlight: Residential burglary

5.1 Introduction

In the 12 months to March 2015, Victoria Police recorded 30,941 residential burglary offences across the state, a rate of 520.0 residential burglary offences per 100,000 people. These offences have decreased in Victoria in the year ending 31 March 2015 by 0.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.

Residential burglary offences have remained relatively stable in Victoria over the past five years. While the number of offences has seen no statistically significant change over this period, the rate of residential burglary has been decreasing since the year ending 31 March 2013, down from 556.8 offences per 100,000 population to 520.0 per 100,000 in the year ending 31 March 2015.

 

5.2 Method

Residential burglary offences are defined as any offences recorded in LEAP and coded to the CSA offence subdivision 'B30 Burglary/Break and enter' with a 'residential' location type.

Data used in this spotlight were derived from the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database, and reflect criminal offences and alleged offender incidents based on crime recorded by Victoria Police. Data covers a five-year period between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2015.

 

5.3 Trends over time

The graph below shows the number of residential burglary offences recorded by police in Victoria between April 2010 and March 2015. Both the medium-term (5 year) and short-term trends (2 year) showed no statistically significant change in the number of offences recorded, decreasing by 3.2 per cent compared to 2 years ago, but increasing by 6.1 per cent compared to five years ago.

 

Number of residential burglary offences in Victoria: 5 year trend April 2010 to March 2015

 

5.4 Month of offence

The graph below shows the trends in residential burglary offences in Victoria by month1. This figure shows that the number of offences recorded by police fluctuates from month to month. In the last 12 months, the month with the highest prevalence of residential burglary was March 2015, with 2,852 offences recorded within the month. Conversely, the months with the lowest prevalence of residential burglary were February 2015 and June 2014, with 2,353 and 2,376 offences recorded respectively.

 

Number of residential burglary offences recorded by month, April 2014 to March 2015

 

5.5 Days and times for residential burglaries

The table below shows the number of residential burglary offences in Victoria between April 2014 and March 2015 by the day and time the offences were committed. Residential burglaries were most likely to be committed between 'business hours', with 52.1 per cent of all offences occurring between 9:00AM and 5:59PM.

The highest number of offences were recorded as being committed on Friday afternoons between 12:00PM and 5:59PM, with 2,074 offences recorded during this time.

The most popular day of the week overall for burglaries to take place were Fridays, with 18.1 per cent of all offences in the year ending 31 March 2015 committed on a Friday, followed by Thursday which made up 14.6 per cent.

 

Table 1. Residential burglary offences in Victoria by day and time of offence, April 2014 to March 2015

 

Day of week

12:00AM to 
5:59AM

6:00AM to 
11:59AM

12:00PM to 
5:59PM

6:00PM to 
11:59PM

Total

Sunday

535

838

1,340

895

3,608

Monday

458

1,671

1,337

820

4,286

Tuesday

448

1,649

1,326

733

4,156

Wednesday

437

1,727

1,365

896

4,425

Thursday

454

1,801

1,416

857

4,528

Friday

451

1,816

2,074

1,259

5,600

Saturday

515

1,033

1,612

1,178

4,338

Total offences

3,298

10,535

10,470

6,638

3,0941

 

5.6 Location of offences

The map below shows the density of residential burglary rates by Local Government Areas (LGA). The LGAs with darker shading represent areas with higher rates per 100,000 population in the year ending 31 March 2015.

 

Residential burglary offence rate per 100,000 population by Local Government Area, April 2014 to March 2015

 

The LGA with the highest rate of residential burglary offences was Mildura, which recorded 919.9 offences per 100,000 population in the year ending 31 March 2015. This was followed by Greater Shepparton (906.9), Darebin (835.4) and Yarra (825.1).

 

5.7 Method and point of entry

The table below shows the methods and points of entry of residential burglary offences in the 12 months to 31 March 2015. While there is a high proportion of incidents where the method and point of entry is unknown, where data are available, the most common known method of entry is by forcing or breaking open a door (26.5 per cent), followed by forcing or breaking open a window (18.3%).

 

Residential burglary offences in Victoria by method of entry, April 2014 to March 2015

 

Method of entry

Number of offences

% of total number of offences

Forced/Broke Door

8,187

26.5%

Forced/Broke Window

5,658

18.3%

Cut Hole

3,744

12.1%

Cut/Remove Flywire

2,741

8.9%

Cut/Broke Lock

1,858

6.0%

Other

451

1.5%

Unknown method of entry

8,302

26.8%

Total

30,941

100.0%

Offenders are most likely to enter through the back of a property to gain access, however, entry was gained through the front of properties in nearly 20 per cent of offences committed in the year ending 31 March 2015.

 

Residential burglary offences by point of entry, April 2014 to March 2015

 

Point of entry

Number of offences

% of total number of offences

Front

6,162

19.9%

Back

7,565

24.4%

Side

106

0.3%

Door

870

2.8%

Window

499

1.6%

All other points of entry

1,540

5.0%

Unknown point of entry

14,199

45.9%

Total offences

30,941

100.0%

 

5.8 Types of property stolen

In the year to 31 March 2015 there were 124,590 items of property stolen during residential burglaries in Victoria. The graph below shows the proportional breakdown of the types of property stolen in the year ending 31 March 2015.

Property types stolen during residential burglary offences, April 2014 to March 2015

 

Jewellery was the most popular item type stolen, comprising 25.6 per cent of all items stolen between April 2014 and March 2015. Other popular items included electrical appliances (13.4%), tools (9.8%), personal property (9.5%) and cash or documents (7.7%).  There were also 165 cars stolen during burglaries, however this only made up 0.1 per cent of all property stolen. The average value of property stolen was $4,642, with the median value being $1,250.

 

5.9 Investigation status

The table below shows the number of residential burglary offences by their investigation status as at 18th April 2015, when data were extracted from LEAP. As at 18 April 2015, 84.5 per cent of residential burglary offences had an investigation status of 'unsolved'. Over the past ten years, the proportion of residential burglaries that has remained unsolved in Victoria has consistently been above 80 per cent of all recorded burglary offences.

The next most common investigation status was arrest, with 3,258 offences resulting in an arrest, making up only 10.5 per cent of the total number of offences recorded in the year ending 31 March 2015.

 

Number of residential burglary offences in year ending 31 March 2015 by investigation status (as at April 18 2015)

 

Investigation status

Number of offences

% of total number of offences

Arrest

3,258

10.5%

Summons

306

1.0%

Intent to summons

690

2.2%

Caution/warning

59

0.2%

Other*

483

1.6%

Unsolved

26,145

84.5%

Total offences

30,941

100.0%

*Other includes notice to appear, warrant issued, no offence disclosed and other processed outcomes

 

5.10 Alleged offender demographics

In the year ending 31 March 2015, there were 5,725 offender incidents recorded by Victoria Police for residential burglary, decreasing by 5.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Almost 85 per cent of offenders proceeded against for residential burglary offences in the year ending 31 March 2015 were male (84.8 per cent or 4,857 offender incidents).

Overall, offenders aged between 15 and 24 accounted for 34.3 per cent of all offenders of residential burglary. For male alleged offender incidents, the most common age group was 15-19, making up 19.3 per cent of all male offenders. For females, the most common age group was also 25-29, comprising 19.7 per cent of all female offenders.

 

Offender incidents for residential burglary, proportion within sex and age groups, April 2014 to March 2015

5.11 Summary

During the year ending 31 March 2015, residential burglary in Victoria remained stable compared to the previous 12 months, in line with short-term (2 year) and medium-term (5 year) trends for this offence group. Residential burglaries were most likely to occur between business hours, with Friday being recorded as the day with the highest proportion of residential burglaries.

Offenders were most likely to enter through the back of a property, and gain access by forcing open a door or window. Jewellery comprised 25.6 per cent of all property stolen during burglaries, with the average value of property stolen equating to $4,642.

While more than three-quarters of all offences remained unsolved as at April 2015, those offenders that were were proceeded against by police were most likely to be male, and under the age of 24.

 

5.12 Notes

1. Month of offence is defined as the month the offence recorded on the LEAP database as opposed to the date the offence was detected by or reported to police.

Author
Crime Statistics Agency
Publisher
Crime Statistics Agency

 

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