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ABS figures show assaults soaring across Australia





nickfyoung
"VIOLENT crime has soared 44 per cent across the nation in a year, as drunks repeatedly assault the same victims."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health-fitness/abs-figures-show-assaults-soaring-across-australia/story-fneuzlbd-1226581462915#ixzz2LNo9lMux

I once stated that violent crime was on the increase in another post. That was shot down because the figures didn't support the claim.

Recent figures as shown above show that alcohol and drugs are fueling violent crimes here in Australia. Is this a common trend across the world or is it just here with our drinking culture.

If this is a common trend what does it say about our civilization. Are we progressing or slipping into anarchy and chaos.

44% is a massive rise in one year.
Bikerman
Hmm...so, thinking that a single newspaper is not a good enough source to make such a massive claim, I checked another couple of sources which should be more reliable.
So, the Ministry for Home Affairs/Justice seemed a good starting point. They have crime falling, including assaults.

So, next the source of the news story - Australian Bureau of Statistics press release.
Interestingly it seems that the number of reported assaults HAS increased markedly, but NOT the number of victims. So the same people are being repeatedly assaulted. I have some suspicion that this stat is dodgy, but assuming it is OK, then the more important data are the long-term trends.

Australia does seem to have increasing assaults:


but it is atypical.
For example, the UK :


The US is similar:
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...so, thinking that a single newspaper is not a good enough source to make such a massive claim, I checked another couple of sources which should be more reliable.
So, the Ministry for Home Affairs/Justice seemed a good starting point. They have crime falling, including assaults.

So, next the source of the news story - Australian Bureau of Statistics press release.
Interestingly it seems that the number of reported assaults HAS increased markedly, but NOT the number of victims. So the same people are being repeatedly assaulted. I have some suspicion that this stat is dodgy, but assuming it is OK, then the more important data are the long-term trends.

Australia does seem to have increasing assaults:


but it is atypical.
For example, the UK :


The US is similar:



Your Minister of Home Affairs report is still quoting figures from 09/10 so is a bit dated.

The point I was trying to make in the old post and this one is that Australia is becoming more and more a culture of heavy drinking and binge drinking amongst younger people. http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/fact-sheets/the-facts-about-binge-drinking-web-fact-sheet

Alcohol consumption is reported to be high in Australia by world standards although the UK is even higher. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/preventativehealth/publishing.nsf/Content/tech-alcohol-toc~tech-alcohol-2~tech-alcohol-2.1

Is alcohol fueled violence a problem in the UK or is it just Aussies who can't hold there beer.
Bikerman
As I pointed out last time, there are significant, probably fatal, problems with that argument.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that alcolhol consumption has fallen, not risen.
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4307.0.55.001main+features72010-11
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
As I pointed out last time, there are significant, probably fatal, problems with that argument.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that alcolhol consumption has fallen, not risen.
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4307.0.55.001main+features72010-11


Yeah, those graphs show a fall in beer consumption and a rise in wine consumption while spirits have remained relatively steady The totals have fluctuated over the last 50 years with the graph ending in 2010/11. Maybe it is up again now.
Bikerman
Very unlikely - the graph doesn't show a sudden spike/change over any previous 12 month period, so it seems unlikely that there would have been one this last year.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Interestingly it seems that the number of reported assaults HAS increased markedly, but NOT the number of victims. So the same people are being repeatedly assaulted. I have some suspicion that this stat is dodgy...

(The most likely explanation for that pattern is a rise in the recognition of domestic violence, stalking, harassment and bullying as real criminal issues. You'll notice that no other form of crime has risen - robbery, kidnapping and homicide are all level or declining, while sexual assault may be rising slightly (but again, that may be due to more awareness of what actually constitutes sexual assault) - so it's not like there's a general rise in crime. In other words, there's not more violence, there's more violence being reported, and taken more seriously than it was before. It may also be representing a cultural shift away from the "we'll settling things ourselves with our fists without involving the cops" to "you hit me? call the cops!".

I would suggest checking what the statistics are measuring. Do the US and UK statistics include domestic assaults as "violent crime"? They probably don't, while the Aussie stats just might. I can see the mentality that a domestic assault isn't considered a violent crime (in the same way that a noise or disturbance violation, while against the law, is probably not counted as a crime) unless the assault is extremely violent (ie, resulting in death or serious injury), while it certainly is an assault.)

But in general, i'd like to point out three things.

First, the most successful predictor of crime, especially violent crime, EVERYWHERE, is poverty. The better off the country is doing, the more the crime rate drops. Given the worldwide "recession" currently being manufactured and spun, it's hardly surprising that there would be a spike in crime and violence in the last 3-4 years (the recession started in the US in ~2008, and spread to other countries at different years).

Second, crime statistics are tricky things. The number of reported crimes doesn't necessarily reflect the number of actual crimes, because if people aren't reporting crimes, then there could be a lot of crime while the statistics show very little. It is generally true everywhere that fewer crimes are going unreported now than were decades ago, so if the actual number of crimes was steady, we should expect to see the number of reported crimes rise. We don't. Despite the fact that fewer crimes are going unreported, the crime rate is still dropping, in most places for most crimes, with a few exceptions. (The exceptions are generally less violent crimes, like assaults that don't result in death or serious harm, along with rape and domestic crimes.) That means that those downward lines on crime stat charts are UNDERESTIMATING how much things are getting better. If you really want to understand whether violence is on the rise, you can't just use the number of reported cases; you need the estimates for the number of cases going unreported as well.

Third, one year is not a trend. Nor is two years. If violent crime has been dropping steadily for 15-20 years, it takes more than a couple years of rise (during an economic recession!!!) to start clutching our pearls about the apocalypse of human civility.
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