Having conversations you never thought you would in Australia
Is Australian Crime increasing?
“Is it my imagination or is there an increase in crime these days?” The question seemed innocent enough, but the fact that I cannot find the post anymore, tells me that it has either been deleted by the poster or by admin, because the comments got quite nasty, quite quickly.
And so you start having conversations that you never thought you would be having once you landed in the Lucky Country.
Yes, we have crime in Australia
Yes, we do have crime, and for those of us who have been here more than a year or two, there is a general consensus in the feeling that crime is on the rise in Australia.
Or could it be, that we have actually become more accustomed to how “normal” crime should look, that we are more shocked at it happening, than we were when we were fresh off the plane?
I remember very vividly how, in my first six weeks, I used to roll my eyes at the crimes that were reported. One was a stabbing incident, the other was a car accident. They reported with great fanfare when a car rammed an ATM in a local shopping centre, trying to drive away with the loot.
Facebook posts about Crime in Australia get nasty real quick
Back to the Facebook post and comments.
People started commenting that they have noticed it as well. They have noticed the activities of certain crime gangs have increased in the inner city of Melbourne. One very industrious South African commented that he started a not for profit company which fitted trackers in vehicles. (Sounds eerily familiar?)
Then came the bombarding of people who said, “No way! At least, if they break in here they won’t kill you! Or rape you! Or torture you to death.” They reminded us of what we, the lucky ones have escaped.
Suddenly the conversation turned into a mudslinging match with people saying that it was because of people from certain parts in Africa joining the said gangs and wherever they were there were always trouble. Then accusations of racism started, and it got really ugly… as it does when emotions start to rise, and we want to validate our right to feel a certain way, and why we do certain things…
And so, Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
let me tell you the thing about crime in Australia.
There are certain parts where I do not willingly drive at night. I still lock my doors at night, and my security screen doors, that are best for keeping flies out, but still. I still put my purse and my phone on the floor at my feet, though I do forget to do it sometimes, and just leave it on the seat next to me. Let me tell you, a roadside window washer (that is quickly nipped in the bud by local police) still freaks me out!
I read news.com.au every day, and there is always something nasty happening somewhere. I have read of children being abducted in broad daylight, and of elderly people being bashed by young thugs or neighbours setting fire to their neighbour’s flat and killing him in the process.
A friend’s husband was mugged on his way home from the train station.
Australia is not immune to crime. The drug addiction to Meth is seriously threatening families and the general public at this moment.
Crime Statistics in Australia
Let me tell you about the statistics, because facts count, and news articles cannot always be trusted, especially with all the fake news that are running amuck.
The statistics for 2014-2015, that I could google read like this:
– Between 2014 and 2015 the robbery victims fell by 9% to 8966 victims. (8966 victims too many, but still…)
– Unlawful entry with intent increased by 1% to 2637 victims, while motor vehicle theft increased by 3% to 1432 victims and other theft, increased by 5% to 23,364. (Looks like a gear lock may be a good idea in future?)
Domestic Violence is increasing as well
– Sadly, there was an increase in family and domestic violence, by 7% to 7464 victims. (I still remember how a dad went and stabbed his little boy to death on the cricket field in front of his mates, just to spite the mum. Or how a loving father just snapped and committed family murder and killed himself afterwards. It happens, and not only to the Aussies. I could tell you horror stories of what happens to some of my fellow expats in their homes. But then… that is also not news to many of you, as you are living it at the moment.)
– Female victims of sexual assault increased by 8% and just as sad was that women between the ages of 0-19 years made up for half of this number. (Yes, it is becoming less and less safe for women to go walking alone at night. There has been horrific cases of women being killed within a 100 metres from their homes. Teach your wives and daughters to be aware of their surroundings and always travel in groups.)
Murders in Australia – 238 for 2014
– In 2014, 238 people were reported murdered. This means that only 1 in every 100,000 people are murdered, 61% are men, with men between 35-44 years being the majority of victims. Two out of three murders happened at residential locations and the weapon of choice was a knife (remember that gun laws are very strict here after the Port Arthur massacre.) And here comes the good news – 77% of these investigations were finalised within 30 days! The police got the guilty party within 30 days of the murder taking place.
The newest statistics that I could get for 2015-2016 looked like this:
– There are almost 19 million people in Australia aged over 15 and of these 462,200 experienced at least one physical assault. 543,500 were threatened with physical assault and 70,600 experienced at least one robbery.
– 77,400 was sexually assaulted at least once.
– 4.8% of households suffered malicious property damage.
– 2.9% households experienced motor theft and 2.5 households had a break in to their home, garage or shed.
So there you have it. Australia is the lucky country (nanny state maybe, but the lucky country when it comes to crime.)
Yes, there is an increase in crime, but to you coming from a south land where these figures seem like Utopia, it will seem as if there is no crime. This does not give you carte blanche to be flippant about your own safety and security. Trust your gut. Be vigilant. Don’t go looking for trouble.
However, you should be safe and you should feel safe most of the time as well.
And if you want to snort when you arrive here and you hear someone who’s been residing in Australia for a while, say, “Is it just me, or is crime getting more,” remember that we have become accustomed to the Aussie way of life, just as you will, and hopefully one day you will wake up and think the same. Because your normal now, is actually quite abnormal.
See ya soon mate,