Discover the meaning behind crime data in New South Wales with our comprehensive glossary of criminal offences. From assault to theft and everything in between, this guide will help you understand the different types of crimes and their definitions.
Abduction and kidnapping
Abduction and kidnapping refer to the illegal act of detaining a person against their will or against the will of someone who has lawful responsibility for that person, such as a parent or guardian. This definition is based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011 and encompasses the police category of abduction/kidnapping.
Against justice procedures
Against justice procedures refer to any act or failure to act that is considered to be harmful to the proper functioning of justice procedures or government operations. This definition, based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011, includes several categories outlined by BOCSAR (Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research) such as breaching an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), escaping from custody, violating bail conditions, failing to appear in court, and obstructing or resisting an officer.
Alcohol-related offences refer to offences flagged by the NSW Police Force as involving alcohol. These offences are distinguished from “non-alcohol related” offences, which are all other offences that are not flagged. The “alcohol-related” flag is applied to selected offences where the police have information about the involvement of alcohol. The offences covered by the alcohol flag include assault, sexual offences, robbery, murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, harassment/threatening behavior, abduction/kidnapping, offensive conduct, and offensive language.
Amphetamines are a category of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system and include substances such as ice, base, and speed. This definition is based on the Department of Health and Ageing’s National Drugs Campaign from 2012.
Arson is the deliberate and malicious act of causing damage or destruction to property using fire or an explosive device. This definition, based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011, includes several police incident categories such as bushfire, structural, commodity, or vehicle fire, as well as malicious damage caused by the fire with the intent to harm or for financial gain.
Assault refers to the use of direct and immediate force, violence, or injury towards an individual or group, or the direct and immediate threat of such action, which instills fear that the threat could be carried out. This definition is based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011 and includes police incident categories such as actual bodily harm, common assault, grievous bodily harm (including malicious wounding), shooting with intent other than to murder, assaulting a police officer, and spiking a drink or food. Police may also flag assaults as being domestic violence-related or alcohol-related.
Attempted murder is defined as the illegal act of attempting to kill another person, where there is an intention to cause grievous bodily harm or death, knowing that such harm or death is likely to occur (due to reckless indifference to life), but where the victim does not actually die. This definition is based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011 and includes the police incident category of attempted murder.
Betting and gaming offences
Betting and gaming offences refer to illegal activities related to betting or gaming, as well as violations of rules or regulations that apply to legal betting or gaming operations. This definition is based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011 and includes police incident categories such as own/manage premises for betting or gaming, conduct/play illegal games or bets, and other gaming offences.
Blackmail and extortion
Blackmail and extortion involve illegally demanding money, property, or some other benefit from someone, or attempting to cause harm to them, using threats or other coercive measures. These demands are made with the intention of gaining something or causing harm to the victim and are usually accompanied by the threat of future harm if the demand is not met. This definition is based on the ANZSOC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification) from 2011 and includes the police incident categories of extortion and blackmail.
Breach Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
A breach of the conditions of an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), which is a legal order that prohibits a person from engaging in certain behaviors towards the person who sought the order. This offence can be classified as either domestic or personal and is included in the police incident categories of breach AVO (ANZSOC, 2011).
Breach of bail conditions
A breach of bail conditions refers to any act or omission that goes against the conditions set out in a bail order. This can include not showing up for court appearances, leaving the jurisdiction without permission, or failing to comply with other conditions imposed by the court as a condition of release. It is classified as a criminal offence and falls under the police incident category of breach bail conditions.
Break and enter
Break and enter refers to the act of entering a building without lawful authorization with the intention to commit an offence. The entry may be made by using force or without using force. Such incidents can occur in dwellings like residential homes, units, and villas, as well as in non-dwellings such as retail stores, wholesale outlets, schools, factories, or recreational premises. The police categorize these incidents under various categories, including break, enter and steal, break, enter intent to steal, break, enter and commit other felony, and break, enter intent to commit other felony. However, incidents of stealing from a dwelling, where the entry was made lawfully, such as when the offender has been invited, are excluded from this category and fall under the theft category.
Cannabis is a term that encompasses marijuana, hashish (hash), and hash oil, according to the Department of Health and Ageing’s National Drugs Campaign in 2012.
Cocaine is a type of drug that acts as a stimulant and appears as a powder made up of white crystals (Department of Health and Ageing, National Drugs Campaign, 2012).
Criminal intent refers to engaging in activities, possessing items, or associating with individuals that suggest a willingness or plan to commit a criminal offence. This may include having tools, clothing, or other materials that are commonly used in criminal activities, or associating with known criminals. The police incident categories associated with criminal intent include enter land with intent, armed with intent, disguised with intent, possess implements, and intent to repeat indictable offence. (ANZSOC, 2011).
Cultivating cannabis refers to engaging in activities with the intention of growing or cultivating cannabis plants (ANZSOC, 2011). This includes the police incident category of cultivation.
Dealing or trafficking in illicit drugs
Dealing or trafficking in illicit drugs refers to the act of supplying or purchasing illegal drugs or controlled substances in quantities deemed to be for commercial purposes (ANZSOC, 2011). This can include the sale, distribution, or transportation of illicit drugs. The police incident category for this offence is typically labeled as “supply drug/plant.”
Disorderly conduct refers to offences that involve offensive personal conduct towards members of the public (ANZSOC, 2011). This category encompasses BOCSAR offences such as trespassing, criminal intent, and the use of offensive language and behavior.
Domestic violence related
The term “domestic violence related” refers to offences that are flagged by the NSW Police Force as being related to domestic violence. These offences include selected offences against persons such as assault, murder, sexual offences, harassment, threatening behavior, kidnapping, and property damage.
The definition of domestic violence in NSW is defined by the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, which includes a broad range of relationships. These relationships may include spouses or partners, ex-spouses or ex-partners, boyfriends or girlfriends (including exes), parents or guardians (including step or foster), children (including step or foster), siblings, other family members (including kin), those living or having lived in the same household, those dependent on the paid or unpaid care of another person, or individuals involved in a love triangle.
This definition goes beyond just intimate partners. offences that are not flagged as “domestic violence related” are categorized as “non-domestic violence related”.
Drug offences refer to a range of criminal activities related to illegal drugs, including possession, sale, distribution, trafficking, importation, manufacturing, and cultivation of illicit drugs. This can also include the misuse of prescription drugs that are otherwise legal. These offences are considered serious crimes and can result in significant legal consequences such as imprisonment and fines.
Ecstasy is a type of drug that functions as a stimulant, and its main ingredient is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). This information was provided by the National Drugs Campaign of the Department of Health and Ageing in 2012.
Escape custody refers to criminal offences that involve a person unlawfully regaining their freedom while in lawful custody, such as in police custody or under the custody of correctional services or community services. This type of offence is categorized by the police into different incident categories such as escapee from police custody or escapee from other types of custody.
These offences are recognized under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) system, which is used to classify and compare criminal offences across different jurisdictions.
Fail to appear
“Failing to appear” refers to the act of not showing up to court as required by law (ANZSOC, 2011). This includes the police incident category of “fail to appear”.
Fraud refers to dishonest conduct that involves deceiving someone or inducing them to act in a certain way, with the intent to gain financial benefit or avoid liability. This can include making, using, or possessing a forged financial instrument with the aim of obtaining an advantage. According to ANZSOC (2011), fraud encompasses various types of criminal activities such as deception, embezzlement, computer crime, corrupt payments, and more.
The police incident categories related to fraud are numerous, with over 15 categories including possession of false instruments, failing to pay, and others.
The criminal incident data provided includes information on the number of incidents and victims of murder and manslaughter within each Statistical Area (SA) in NSW as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It is important to note that criminal incidents that occurred in correctional, detention, or remand centers are not included in the SA where the incident occurred. The maps show the boundaries of each SA as well as the Local Government Areas (LGAs) within each SA using the most recent boundaries available. It should also be noted that LGA boundaries are subject to change. Criminal incidents are attributed to a particular region if the location of the offence falls within that region.
Homicide refers to the act of unlawfully causing the death of another person or attempting to do so, as well as conspiring to commit such an act. This definition includes several categories of police incidents, such as attempted and actual murder, manslaughter, murder accessory/conspiracy, and shoot with intent to murder.
Importing drugs refers to activities that involve bringing illicit drugs or controlled substances into NSW, with the intention or result of engaging in commercial drug activity. This offence applies to cases where the amount of drugs involved is deemed sufficient for commercial purposes. Police incident categories related to this offence include importing drugs or plants.
BOCSAR’s crime data is based on the counting of recorded criminal incidents rather than offences, with the exception of murder and manslaughter where the counting units are victims. A criminal incident is defined as a single activity that was reported or detected by the police and involves the same offender(s), victim(s), location, uninterrupted period of time, offence category, and incident type.
For example, if two offenders assault the same victim, it will be counted as a single assault incident. On the other hand, if a person reports two distinct offences committed against them by the same offender at the same time and place, such as malicious damage to property and assault, then two criminal incidents will be recorded.
Indecent assault, act of indecency, and other sexual offences
This category of offences covers a range of sexually-related crimes and includes more than ten police incident categories such as acts of indecency, the aggravated act of indecency, incest, carnal knowledge, wilful and obscene exposure, peep or pry, bestiality, and grooming/procuring (ANZSOC, 2011). These offences involve unwanted sexual behavior or actions and are often committed without the consent of the victim. The severity of the offences varies, ranging from indecent exposure to sexual assault, and the penalties can be significant.
Intimidation, stalking, and harassment
Intimidation, stalking, and harassment refer to behaviors that are meant to harass, threaten, or invade the privacy of an individual but do not constitute an assault, sexual assault, blackmail, or intimidation. These actions can take place in person, in writing, or via electronic communication such as phone, email, or social media. Examples of such behaviors include repeatedly following someone, making unwanted phone calls or texts, sending unsolicited emails or letters, or making threats of violence.
The police incident categories related to these offences include intimidation (which includes stalking), telecommunications offences, threats against police, riot and affray, unlawful assembly, and violent disorder. These categories cover a wide range of behaviors, from using technology to harass someone to engaging in violent behavior in public. It is important for law enforcement to identify and address these behaviors in order to protect individuals from harm and maintain public safety.
Liquor offences refer to any activity that violates the laws, regulations, or licensing conditions related to the production, sale, purchase, or consumption of alcohol.
This category of offences includes various police incident types, such as consuming alcohol in public by a minor, consuming alcohol in an alcohol-free zone, and committing licensing legislation offences. Offences against registered clubs, such as supplying liquor to a juvenile or committing an offence by a licensee, employee, secretary, or customer (not minor), also fall under this category. The main aim of these regulations is to promote responsible consumption of alcohol, prevent harm and maintain public order and safety.
Malicious damage to property refers to the intentional and unlawful act of destroying, damaging, or defacing public or private property or polluting property that is commonly held by the community.
Examples of such actions include vandalism, graffiti, and damage to public monuments or fountains. The ANZSOC 2011 further classifies malicious damage to the property into different police incident categories such as graffiti, public place damage to a shrine or monument, and public place damage to a wall or fountain. The intent behind such actions is to cause harm or destruction to the property, which can be costly to repair or replace.
Manslaughter is the unlawful act of killing another person in circumstances that are not classified as murder. These circumstances may include situations where the offender was provoked or acted without intent to kill, or where their responsibility was diminished due to factors such as mental illness or disability. The act leading to the death may have been careless, reckless, negligent, unlawful or dangerous (excluding dangerous driving).
Due to the legal process involved in determining the distinction between murder and manslaughter, police counts of manslaughter are typically low. The police incident category for manslaughter is included, with the incident count representing the number of individual victims rather than the number of incidents.
Manufacture illicit drug
The police incident category of “manufacture drug” refers to actions that result in or are intended to result in the creation of controlled substances used for the production of illicit drugs.
This type of offence falls under the broader category of drug-related crimes and involves activities such as the synthesis of drugs, the production of precursor chemicals, and the cultivation of plants used to manufacture controlled substances.
Motor vehicle theft
Motor vehicle theft is defined as the unauthorized and illegal taking of someone else’s motor vehicle, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or possessor of the vehicle’s use. This includes incidents in which the perpetrator physically takes the vehicle, as well as situations in which the vehicle is stolen using fraudulent means, such as using a fake key or stealing the vehicle’s identification number.
The police incident category for motor vehicle theft is typically recorded as ‘stolen vehicle/vessel’.
The act of unlawfully killing another person intentionally, with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm, or with reckless disregard for human life, knowing that death or grievous bodily harm is likely to occur, is classified as murder under ANZSOC (2011). In addition, killing someone unintentionally during the commission of a crime, such as felony murder, is also considered murder. The police incident category for this offence is ‘murder – actual’, and incident counts for this offence represent the number of individual victims rather than the number of incidents.
Murder accessory, conspiracy
Assisting in the commission of murder or in concealing its occurrence, or being an accessory to murder, is defined as Murder Accessory. Conspiracy, on the other hand, refers to an agreement to commit murder or an act of soliciting, persuading, encouraging, or attempting to convince someone else to commit murder. Both Murder Accessory and Conspiracy are classified as police incident categories for murder-related offences.
A type of drug that has a depressive effect on the body and is either made from opium or contains substances that are similar to opium, such as morphine, heroin, and methadone. (Department of Health and Ageing, National Drugs Campaign, 2012)
Offenders refer to individuals who are subject to legal proceedings initiated by the NSW Police Force. Such legal actions may take different forms, such as referral to court, caution, youth justice conference, criminal infringement notice, other infringement notice, or cannabis or other drug caution.
Offensive conduct refers to any non-verbal behavior that is expected to be perceived as offensive by another person. This definition encompasses the police incident classification of offensive conduct. (ANZSOC, 2011)
Offensive language denotes the use of abusive or inappropriate verbal expressions that are anticipated to be regarded as offensive by another individual. This term covers the police incident grouping of offensive language. (ANZSOC, 2011)
Other drug offences
Other drug offences encompass a range of activities that violate drug laws and are classified under various police incident categories. Some examples of such offences include the act of forging or uttering a prescription, possessing drug paraphernalia or utensils, and committing drug-related offences that do not fit into a specific category of detection or seizure.
Substances not classified as cocaine, narcotics, ecstasy, amphetamines, or cannabis, which may include pharmaceutical drugs.
Other offences against justice procedures
offences that do not fall under the categories of escape custody, breach of apprehended violence orders, breach of bail conditions, fail to appear, resist/hinder officer (ANZSOC, 2011). This can include offences such as other judicial offences and contravention of a Child Protection Prohibition Order, as categorized by police incident reports.
Other offences against the person
This category encompasses a range of offences that cause harm to individuals, including malicious damage with intent to injure or endanger, negligent acts resulting in grievous bodily harm, and other offences against the person, as classified by police incident reports
This category covers theft-related offences that occur in locations other than residential dwellings, such as temporary accommodations, commercial premises, outdoor/public places, steal from marine vessels, and steal vessels, as classified by police incident reports.
Pornography offences are classified by police into two categories: possession/dissemination of child pornography and possession/publication of indecent material.
Possess and/or use illicit drugs
This offence relates to possessing or using non-commercial quantities of illicit drugs or controlled substances that are prohibited under the law (as classified by ANZSOC, 2011). The police incident categories that fall under this offence include possession of drugs, as well as the use or administration of drugs.
Prohibited and regulated weapons offences
This offence encompasses any offence related to prohibited or regulated weapons and explosives, as classified by ANZSOC, 2011. The police incident categories that fall under this offence include over 20 categories, such as bomb hoaxes, possession of prohibited weapons or articles, unlawful discharge of firearms, discharging firearms into premises, failure to ensure the safekeeping of firearms, use of firearms under the influence, and shortening firearms.
Prostitution offences involve the sale or purchase of sexual services and are classified by ANZSOC, 2011. Police incident categories that fall under this offence include soliciting or engaging in prostitution in public, conducting prostitution in premises, living off the earnings of prostitution, consorting with individuals engaged in prostitution, child prostitution, and other vice-related offences.
Receiving or handling stolen goods
This offence pertains to the act of receiving, handling, processing, or possessing money or goods that have been taken or obtained illegally, as classified by ANZSOC, 2011. The police incident categories that fall under this offence include receiving stolen goods, possessing goods in custody, and possessing property that was stolen outside of New South Wales.
Resist or hinder officer
This offence involves intentionally resisting or hindering a police officer or other justice official in the lawful conduct of their duties, as classified by ANZSOC, 2011.
Police incident categories that fall under this offence include resist/hinder officer, refusal to be searched, refusal to produce an object, refusal to comply with a drug-related or non-drug-related direction, refusal to comply while intoxicated or disorderly, and refusal to allow a vehicle to be searched.
Robbery is an offence that involves the unlawful taking of property from a person’s immediate possession, control, custody, or care, with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The act is accompanied by the use, or threatened use, of immediate force or violence, as classified by ANZSOC, 2011. Robbery is further classified into robbery without a weapon, robbery with a firearm, or robbery with a weapon other than a firearm.
Police incident categories that fall under this offence include robbery, robbery with aggravation, demand money with menaces, robbery with wounding, other robbery, and armed robbery.
Sexual assault is an offence that includes any unwanted sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the victim. This offence encompasses police incident categories such as sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and assault with the intent to have sexual intercourse.
Steal from dwelling
Steal from dwelling refers to incidents where a person unlawfully takes property from a dwelling, such as a house or apartment. This offence includes incidents where the offender gained lawful entry into the dwelling, such as stealing from a house to which the offender has been invited, or where the offender did not need to force entry. The police incident categories that fall under this offence include ‘stealing from dwelling’ and ‘other stealing’ where the premises type was ‘residential’.
Steal from motor vehicle
Steal from motor vehicle is an offence that involves the unlawful taking of parts or contents from another person’s motor vehicle without permission. This offence falls under the police incident category of ‘steal from motor vehicle’.
Steal from person
Steal from person is an offence that involves taking money or personal goods from a person without using force, threat of force or violence, or putting the victim in fear. This offence falls under the police incident category of ‘steal from person’.
Steal from retail store
The act of taking goods for sale from retail premises without paying for them is considered theft from retail stores. This also includes the theft of non-sale items like tools, equipment or furnishings from retail premises. This definition excludes theft of motor vehicles. The police incident category of ‘steal from retail store’ falls under this type of theft.
Stock theft refers to the stealing of livestock, such as cattle or sheep, and is classified under the police incident category of ‘steal stock’. It is important to note that this category does not include the theft of domestic animals.
Theft and stealing
Theft and stealing refer to the act of illegally taking or obtaining money or goods without the use of force, violence, coercion, or deception. The intention is to deprive the rightful owner of the use of the money or goods. It also includes the receiving or handling of money or goods that have been obtained unlawfully.
Trespass refers to an act of entering or staying on someone else’s property without lawful authority or permission. This can include entering a building or land without permission, remaining on the property after being asked to leave, or ignoring “no trespassing” signs. It does not necessarily involve any further criminal intent beyond the act of trespassing itself. The police incident categories associated with trespass include “trespass” and “remain on inclosed lands.”
The term “victims” refers to individuals who have been identified by the NSW Police Force, either through self-report or detection, as having experienced a crime against their person. The victim information provided by BOCSAR pertains only to crimes against persons and excludes crimes without a clear victim, such as drug offences or property crimes. BOCSAR reports victim information for several types of crimes, including murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, domestic and non-domestic assault, robbery, sexual offences, and abduction/kidnapping. To protect victim confidentiality, counts of between 1 and 4 are generally not reported.
BOCSAR’s default counting unit for murder and manslaughter is victims, rather than incidents. This approach is taken due to the severity of these offences and their relatively low numbers. For example, a single murder incident may involve multiple victims, such as when one person kills six people. In such cases, BOCSAR counts each individual victim separately, rather than aggregating them into a single incident count.