Crime rate in Australia–how has it changed in the last five years?

In 2017-2018, Australia recorded a crime rate of approximately 2,373.8 crimes per 100,000 people. By 2021-2022, this number decreased to roughly 2,117.7 crimes per 100,000 people, representing an overall decline of about 10.8%.

However, the path to this decrease was not a straight one. During the five-year period, we witnessed some fluctuations in crime rates. 

From 2017-2018 to 2018-2019, there was an increase of about 7.5%, with the rate reaching its peak at 2,552.8 crimes per 100,000 people. Following that, a significant decrease of roughly 19.3% was seen in 2019-2020, bringing the crime rate down to 2,059.9. Over the subsequent years, the rate rose slightly by about 7.9% in 2020-2021 before reducing again by approximately 4.7% in 2021-2022.

Knowing these numbers and understanding these trends is more than just trivia. It’s about knowing our community. It helps us decide where we live, work and play. Also, it helps us understand the challenges we face and how we can work together to create a safer Australia.

Below is a more detailed discussion of these rates and how to protect ourselves.

Crime rate statistics in Australia for the past five years

Which state in Australia has the highest crime rate?

The analysis of crime rates across Australian states presents a layered understanding, depending on whether we’re looking at total numbers or rates adjusted for population size.

Looking at the total number of reported crimes, New South Wales (NSW) consistently had the highest crime rate from 2018 to 2022, with 860,292 reported crimes. This crime prevalence is expected in a region with such a significant population. 

Following closely behind is Queensland, the third most populous state, reporting 741,828 crimes over these years. 

In third place, we find Victoria, with 539,229 crimes. Despite having a slightly larger population than Queensland, it reported fewer total crimes over the five years. 

However, the narrative changes once we adjust these numbers for population size, considering the number of crimes per 1,000 individuals. This allows for a more balanced comparison, putting all states on an equal footing irrespective of their population size.

In this light, the Northern Territory (NT) emerges as the state with the highest crime rate per capita. From 2018 to 2022, NT consistently reported an average of around 47.9 crimes per 1,000 people, a significantly increased rate relative to its total population size.

Coming in second place is Western Australia, with an average of approximately 30.9 reported crimes per 1,000 people over the same period. Interestingly, Queensland maintains a prominent position in this analysis too. Despite dropping to the third spot, it still reported a high crime rate per capita, with around 28.6 crimes per 1,000 people.

What are the top crimes in Australia?

  • The most reported crime

Calculated by total instances, traffic and vehicle regulatory offences lead the list as the most reported crime in Australia, with a total of 909,132 reported cases. This category encompasses many violations, including speeding, running red lights or stop signs, driving without a valid licence or insurance, and vehicle safety infractions. 

The second most reported crime category, acts intended to cause injury, consists predominantly of assault cases. These offences were reported a total of 364,522 times. This high incidence underscores the persistent societal challenge posed by violence. 

Illicit drug offences rank as Australia’s third most reported crime, with 276,977 instances. Violations in this category include dealing or trafficking illegal drugs, manufacturing or cultivating illicit drugs, and possessing or using illicit drugs.

When considering crime rates per 100,000 people over the last five years, Australia’s three most reported crimes shift slightly.

Acts intended to cause injury jumps to the top spot, with a rate of 370.7 offences per 100,000 people. Then ranking as the second most reported crime, illicit drug offences had 224.9 instances per 100,000 people. Public order offences come in third, with 150.6 offences per 100,000 people. 

  • Fastest-growing crime in Australia

Data indicate a significant growth in certain crime categories in Australia, with “Miscellaneous Offences” and “Acts Intended to Cause Injury” showing notable increases.

From 2017-18 to 2021-22, the “Miscellaneous Offences” category experienced a substantial increase in reported instances. The rate climbed by approximately 261.7%. From 74.8 offences in 2017-18, it jumped to a significantly higher 270.5 per 100,000 people by 2021-22. 

Meanwhile, the “Acts Intended to Cause Injury” category has also seen steady growth. This category, which mainly consists of assault cases, has risen in rate from 362.5 offences per 100,000 people in 2017-18 to 370.7 in 2021-22. 

These trends signify a persistent societal challenge posed by violence, underscoring the need for robust preventive measures, victim support services, and effective law enforcement.

How can you protect your home or business?

With the proper measures in place, you can significantly reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime. Here are some practical steps to protect your home or business in Australia.

Securing a home

  • Install security systems. A robust security system is one of the most effective deterrents for criminals. This could include alarms, CCTV cameras, and motion sensor lighting. Modern systems can even offer remote monitoring via smartphone apps.
  • Lock doors and windows. Most burglaries happen through unsecured windows and doors. Strengthen these access points by installing deadbolts on doors, securing windows with locks or safety glass, and never leaving them open or unlocked when you’re not around.
  • Use timers on lights. An empty home or business can attract unwanted attention. Using timers to turn on lights or radios can give the impression that the property is occupied, potentially deterring burglars.
  • Secure air conditioning units. Air conditioners, especially those in windows, can provide an entry point if not secured correctly. Securing them from potential burglars involves a combination of reinforcement measures for the unit and the window. For example, you can use window locks, support brackets or AC safe cages.
  • Trim landscaping. Well-trimmed plants around your home can remove potential hiding spots for intruders.
  • Secure valuables. Try not to openly display valuable items that might attract thieves–this applies both within your home and on social media platforms.
  • Install secure fencing. The type of secure fencing that best suits your needs depends on several factors, including the size of your property, the level of security required, and local building codes and regulations.

Securing a business

In today’s rapidly changing environment, ensuring the security of your business involves not just your physical assets but also your digital information and employees. 

Below are strategies you can implement:

  • Employee education. Provide regular training and resources to ensure they are aware of potential risks and the steps they should take to mitigate them. This could include everything from recognising phishing emails to understanding the importance of regular password updates.
  • Cybersecurity measures. Use firewalls and secure networks, regularly update your software, enforce strong password policies, and consider employing encryption for sensitive data. Regular backups of critical data are also vital in case of system failures or cyber-attacks.
  • Access control system. This restricts who can enter your business premises. This might include key cards, fingerprint identification or facial recognition technology. Regularly review access privileges and ensure they are revoked when an employee leaves the company.
  • Security personnel. Depending on the nature and size of your business, it might be beneficial to hire security personnel. They can monitor your premises, handle security incidents and deter potential criminals.
  • Regular security audits. Conducting periodic security assessments is crucial in pinpointing any weaknesses within your business, encompassing physical safety protocols and digital defence mechanisms. Discovering and mitigating these weak spots can avert potential security infractions.
  • Secure infrastructure. Investing in secure infrastructure is always beneficial. This could include high-security locks, alarm systems, closed-circuit television cameras and robust fencing. Such preventive measures serve as effective deterrents against attempts at break-ins or other forms of physical threats to your business premises.


If you’re ready to take the next step in securing your home or business, reach out to us.

We’re here to help you build a safer tomorrow.