Victorians are set to gain access to professional, independent crime statistics about their neighbourhoods, as a result of the Victorian Government establishing the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA).
From 1 January 2015 the CSA will commence operations through funding provided in the 2013-14 state budget.
The CSA will;
- provide Victorians with access to accurate crime statistics, both in their neighbourhoods and across the state, in a clear and transparent manner
- undertake and publish research into crime trends in Victoria, providing Victorians with a greater understanding about patterns of offending
- publish quarterly and annual reports on the organisation’s website with a breakdown of crimes by postcode, data which was never previously readily available to the public
The establishment of the CSA satisfies a recommendation by the Ombudsman made in two reports from 2009 and 2011, which was critical of the manipulation of crime statistics in the lead-up to the November 2010 state election. Unfortunately the Ombudsman found Victorians were deliberately misled on crime statistics in the lead up to that state election under the previous Government.
It also satisfies a recommendation that the former Office of Police Integrity made in its 2011 Report of an investigation into Victoria Police crime records and statistical reporting
Ms Fiona Dowsley has been appointed to the role of foundation Chief Statistician of the CSA having previously headed the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics within the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The CSA will ensure Victorians can have confidence in the integrity and accuracy of official crime statistics in their neighbourhoods. When Victorians are aware of crime trends in their neighbourhoods, they have a better chance of preventing and reducing crime.