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Canberra rates of violence

By 29 January 2014 20

New reports released by the Productivity Commission are pointing to Canberra having the highest rate of physical and sexual assault victims in the country – the country!   Showing a victim rate of 4706 per 100,000 this places the ACT above the Northern Territory for physical and sexual assault.

The Productivity Commission have flagged some room for error in Sexual assault figures, but assuming this is the case in all States and Territories I am compelled to ask how Canberra has found itself in this situation.

I also recall some time ago (around the time of the St Vinnies CEO sleep out) that there were some fairly surprising figures on homelessness in the capital putting us at the second highest for homelessness in the Country.

I must admit that I had always assumed Canberra to be a relatively well-educated, middle class city.  If this is the case, how is it that we are in this position – dealing with high levels of violence and homelessness.  And, are the two linked?

How does a city built so firmly on the Federal Public Services find itself so far down the chain?  Surely we should be in a position to lead the way – to have low crime and social care for everyone.

Is it the fault of people like me?  I live in the suburbs and keep my head down with this assumption that Canberra is a little oasis of all things good and moral…

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20 Responses to Canberra rates of violence
#1
breda8:29 pm, 29 Jan 14

Something very wrong with these numbers,unless the many reports about violence (including sexual assault) in Indigenous communities are a pack of lies.

We don’t get a lot of cases of children with venereal disease and women being raped with broken bottles and sticks here.

#2
arescarti428:44 pm, 29 Jan 14

High rates of assault is surprising if true, and I can’t imagine why that’d be the case.

High rates of homelessness is entirely unsurprising, and is the result of Canberra’s notoriously tight and ridiculously expensive housing market. People always seem to forget that not everyone in Canberra is employed in the public service and subsequently making higher incomes than the rest of Australia. If you work in hospitality, retail and other service industries, you’re probably not earning any more than if you were in another city, but the cost of housing is still much higher.

For that one, I place the blame squarely on the ACT Government and their appallingly bad housing policy.

#3
IrishPete9:29 pm, 29 Jan 14

The error margins in the sexual assault figures are a result of small sample size and low base rate (the percentage of people reporting the thing, in this case the thing is being sexually assaulted, in another survey it might be riding a bicycle to work daily)..

This would possibly also be the case in Tasmania and Northern Territory, but not the larger states. I haven’t checked the relevant Report on Government Services chapter yet, these comments are based on my prior knowledge of these surveys. There is a slightly more recent source of similar information too http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4906.0Main+Features12012?OpenDocument

Well-off people assault people too as do the and well-educated (if that isn’t an oxymoron, because surely something in their education failed if they think it’s okay to assault people) – either in pubs and clubs, or in the privacy of their own homes.

IP.

#4
magiccar911:16 pm, 29 Jan 14

Stats on the average amount of alcohol consumption per head?
My guess is there could be a surprising correlation…

#5
breda2:46 am, 30 Jan 14

Where is the link supporting this report?

#6
davo1017:44 am, 30 Jan 14

breda said :

Where is the link supporting this report?

Here.

#7
maxblues9:04 am, 30 Jan 14

magiccar9 said :

Stats on the average amount of alcohol consumption per head?
My guess is there could be a surprising correlation…

You idiot. Muslims don’t drink…so are you saying that they don’t commit violence?
A lot of the people going around shooting each other in Sydney, don’t drink.
The statistics on the consumption and effects of a myriad of illegal drugs are harder to quantify so lazy people choose alcohol on which to base their whinges.
If people such as the Pope have a nightly crème-de-menthe or your granny has a nightly sherry, these figures are included in ‘alcohol consumption’ and I would be surprised if they have any correlation with violence.

#8
Deref11:58 am, 30 Jan 14

I haven’t read the report, but a few things that could skew the figures immediately spring to mind.

Canberra’s – what – 99% urban? It’s possible that the reporting rate (at least) is lower in non-urban areas and that could reduce the per capita figures for other polities.

Perhaps Canberra’s reporting rate per capita is higher than that in other polities. I’m not sure how you’d know that, since you’d need to know the rate of non-reported assaults and, by definition, you don’t.

There are probably other sources of possible skew (not necessarily error).

arescarti42 said :

High rates of homelessness is entirely unsurprising, and is the result of Canberra’s notoriously tight and ridiculously expensive housing market.

+1 to that.

#9
davo1011:21 pm, 30 Jan 14

Deref said :

Perhaps Canberra’s reporting rate per capita is higher than that in other polities.

Actually the ACT has the lowest estimated rate of reporting. Unfortunately the ABS does not supply a “TABLE 12″ for the ACT so we can’t tell if there is any difference in the character of assaults here as compared to elsewhere (you can see the figures for all of Australia in this spreadsheet).

#10
Deref1:26 pm, 30 Jan 14

davo101 said :

Deref said :

Perhaps Canberra’s reporting rate per capita is higher than that in other polities.

Actually the ACT has the lowest estimated rate of reporting. Unfortunately the ABS does not supply a “TABLE 12″ for the ACT so we can’t tell if there is any difference in the character of assaults here as compared to elsewhere (you can see the figures for all of Australia in this spreadsheet).

:-( Link starts to open then immediately closes.

Surprised about the reporting rate, though. Thanks for that info. I do wonder how you could ever work it out, though, without knowing the rate of non-reported assaults. If you knew that, surely they’d be reported.

#11
NoImRight2:34 pm, 30 Jan 14

arescarti42 said :

High rates of assault is surprising if true, and I can’t imagine why that’d be the case.

High rates of homelessness is entirely unsurprising, and is the result of Canberra’s notoriously tight and ridiculously expensive housing market. People always seem to forget that not everyone in Canberra is employed in the public service and subsequently making higher incomes than the rest of Australia. If you work in hospitality, retail and other service industries, you’re probably not earning any more than if you were in another city, but the cost of housing is still much higher.

For that one, I place the blame squarely on the ACT Government and their appallingly bad housing policy.

Apparently Canberra was the only city to record a fall in rental rates for houses and units in 2013.House prices havent moved much for a couple of years either. So wheres your messiah now?

I agree that some public servants earn good money, so do some doctors, lawyers, mechanics, bobcat drivers etc. Theres big earners in every industry. Can we stop with the public servants are fat cats always flying around the countryside rooning the economy cliches?They are not the source of all woes.

#12
Testfest2:43 pm, 30 Jan 14

I was shocked when I saw this report. I always thought that Canberra was one of the safest cities that I have ever lived in.

I’m not sure how they got the stats for this report, but I went to the ACT Policing website and got the number of Homicides, Assaults and Sexual Assaults for all of Canberra in 2012, which was 2649. All of Canberra in 2013 was 2346.

Where the hell does this figure of 4706 per 100,000 people come from..?

Check it out yourself here – http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

#13
magiccar96:08 pm, 30 Jan 14

Muslims don’t drink…so are you saying that they don’t commit violence?
A lot of the people going around shooting each other in Sydney, don’t drink.
The statistics on the consumption and effects of a myriad of illegal drugs are harder to quantify so lazy people choose alcohol on which to base their whinges.
If people such as the Pope have a nightly crème-de-menthe or your granny has a nightly sherry, these figures are included in ‘alcohol consumption’ and I would be surprised if they have any correlation with violence.

I’ll be sure to remind you how much of an idiot I am when you’re lying in a pool of your own blood in Civic on a Saturday night because someone who had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol thought your body was a nice place to park their knife. Or when you’re in hospital because a drunken brawl got out of hand and you were an innocent victim.

I never said everyone who drinks is violent or even the opposite. If however, you deny there is a strong correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and acts of violence then you need to get your head out of your own arse.

My assumption simply would be that where there are areas of high alcohol consumption (eg, night club hotspots) then then the concentration of physical and sexual assaults will be higher in those areas.

#14
arescarti428:32 pm, 30 Jan 14

NoImRight said :

arescarti42 said :

High rates of assault is surprising if true, and I can’t imagine why that’d be the case.

High rates of homelessness is entirely unsurprising, and is the result of Canberra’s notoriously tight and ridiculously expensive housing market. People always seem to forget that not everyone in Canberra is employed in the public service and subsequently making higher incomes than the rest of Australia. If you work in hospitality, retail and other service industries, you’re probably not earning any more than if you were in another city, but the cost of housing is still much higher.

For that one, I place the blame squarely on the ACT Government and their appallingly bad housing policy.

Apparently Canberra was the only city to record a fall in rental rates for houses and units in 2013.House prices havent moved much for a couple of years either. So wheres your messiah now?

The fact remains that both rents and prices are at nose bleed levels relative to incomes both in absolute terms and historically, and that both rents and prices in Canberra are well above the national average.

NoImRight said :

I agree that some public servants earn good money, so do some doctors, lawyers, mechanics, bobcat drivers etc. Theres big earners in every industry. Can we stop with the public servants are fat cats always flying around the countryside rooning the economy cliches?They are not the source of all woes.

My comment was meant as a shot at the ACT Government and their horrendous housing policy, not public servants.

Canberra’s extremely high housing costs are rationalised by some as a non-issue because average incomes in Canberra are higher than the rest of the country, as a result of the high proportion of public servants.

That is of course irrelevant if you work in retail or in hospitality.

#15
IrishPete12:37 pm, 31 Jan 14

To those questioning the source of this information, it is from a survey. There is no point in looking at the ACT Policing website. Because it is a survey, it is able to estimate the number of unreported assaults. Of course, if the assault wasn’t reported in the survey (perhaps because the perpetrator was within earshot of the person answering the survey on the phone, if that’s how the survey was conducted), then even the survey won’t have been able to detect and count it.

The survey also underestimates (or rather, under-reports) the number of assaults, because what is being reported is the number of people who have been assaulted. If a person was assaulted twice in the year they were asked about, it is only counted once in the “victim rate”. So the victim rate of 4706 per 100,00 probably represents a much higher number of assaults. I am also fairly sure this survey only includes adults. Possibly people aged 15 and upwards, I haven’t checked.

Although the survey is being reported with breathless excitement, because it was in the Report on Government Services just released, as another bright spark has already shown by posting the link, the survey results were first released on 19th February 2013. Another survey I already posted a link to provides slightly more recent information (which I think contained consistent information).

The one released on 19th February 2013 (and reported again in the Report on Government Services) does seem to be conducted annually (ABS budget cuts notwithstanding), so there should be another released fairly soon. It is due for release on 12th Feb 2014 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/webpages/Release%20Advice%20for%20ABS%20Publications%20for%20the%20Next%20Six%20Months

Indeed the discrepancy between these surveys, police statistics, and even the survey’s own findings on feelings of safety, raise very interesting criminological questions which deserve looking at. Its a major field of criminological research in other countries, but not in Australia.

IP

#16
maxblues12:59 pm, 31 Jan 14

magiccar9 said :

Muslims don’t drink…so are you saying that they don’t commit violence?
A lot of the people going around shooting each other in Sydney, don’t drink.
The statistics on the consumption and effects of a myriad of illegal drugs are harder to quantify so lazy people choose alcohol on which to base their whinges.
If people such as the Pope have a nightly crème-de-menthe or your granny has a nightly sherry, these figures are included in ‘alcohol consumption’ and I would be surprised if they have any correlation with violence.

I’ll be sure to remind you how much of an idiot I am when you’re lying in a pool of your own blood in Civic on a Saturday night because someone who had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol thought your body was a nice place to park their knife. Or when you’re in hospital because a drunken brawl got out of hand and you were an innocent victim.

I never said everyone who drinks is violent or even the opposite. If however, you deny there is a strong correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and acts of violence then you need to get your head out of your own arse.

My assumption simply would be that where there are areas of high alcohol consumption (eg, night club hotspots) then then the concentration of physical and sexual assaults will be higher in those areas.

I have never had to lay in a pool of my own blood in Civic or any other city of the world whilst out late at night. I suspect you haven’t either and are just engaging in the sort of lazy exaggeration that I was talking about. Newspapers use sensationalism to try to sell another copy but some people just talk out of their arse.

#17
maxblues1:02 pm, 31 Jan 14

DEAR JAZZ, THE QUOTES AREN’T WORKING PROPERLY ON THIS THREAD.

#18
Jazz1:05 pm, 31 Jan 14

maxblues said :

DEAR JAZZ, THE QUOTES AREN’T WORKING PROPERLY ON THIS THREAD.

seems to be working ok for me.. try cleaning out your cookies

#19
maxblues1:24 pm, 31 Jan 14

Jazz said :

maxblues said :

DEAR JAZZ, THE QUOTES AREN’T WORKING PROPERLY ON THIS THREAD.

seems to be working ok for me.. try cleaning out your cookies

It is not just me, magiccar9′s quotes were incorrect too.

#20
Silentforce12:12 am, 01 Feb 14

As a Canberran for 45 years, I have witnessed the rapid decline of the standards of living of this city since self government.

The standards of living, aside of income that society bases its values on, since self government and mostly left thinking governments appears to fail on most key accounts. To qualify “leftist governments” I means Labor and Labor-Green alliances. I include the cost of living, housing affordability, homelessness, costs and timeliness of emergency health care, support to mentally ill constituents, services for the aged and pussy human rights initiatives.

Current and former ACT Governments tick boxes, relay on “stats” and do not deliver real solutions to the fore mentioned. They are about individual power first and the party second. Residents and rate payers don’t count they just do as they are told or legislated too do. Many politicians have resigned for health, personal or “for the good of the party”, but I cannot find an example of where their primary reason was for the good of the community. RIOTACT and the (other) popular press reports express this ‘news’ daily. For historical evidence since dot, I refer you to the Trove website.

Our Canberra lifestyle and society, no matter who we label ourselves to be socially and politically, seems to be driven by an undertone of Caligula-like mentality both economically and morally. Given the self indulgent and entitlement culture of many Australians generally and APS employees in particular, the flow on effects of this culture reflected in Canberra’s crime statistics are no small wonder.

Flys (flies) to the light.

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