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Criminal activity in Victoria, Australia is combated by the Victoria Police and the Victorian court system, while statistics about crime are managed by the Crime Statistics Agency. Modern Australian states and cities, including Victoria, have some of the lowest crime rates recorded globally with Australia ranked the 13th safest nation and Melbourne ranked the 5th safest city globally. As of September 2018 the CBD of Melbourne had the highest rate of overall criminal incidents in the state (15,949.9), followed by Latrobe (12,896.1) and Yarra (11,119.2). Rural areas have comparatively high crime rates, with towns such as Mildura (9,222.0) and Greater Shepparton (9,111.8) having some of the highest crime rates in the state.[2][3][4][5][6].

Crime rates* (2019)
Violent crimes
Forcible rape219.4
Property crimes

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: [[1] Crime Statistics Victoria 2019]

Victoria has had a comparatively low crime rate throughout its history, particularly in relation to the homicide rate which has been and remains notably lower than that of comparable nations. During the colonial period (1851 -1901) drunkenness was the most widely reported crime, and in 1907 about 40% of all convictions nationwide were for drunkenness. Fraud was also common in the Victorian colony due to a shortage of currency and the common use of promissory notes. Victorian crime data and reporting prior to Australian Federation is generally seen as unreliable or inconsistent, with the exception of homicide rates.[7]


Crime statisticsEdit

Statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency in September 2018 showed a 7.8% drop in the overall crime rate. The statistics showed the criminal incident rate fell to 5,922 cases per 100,000 people in the last financial year, continuing a trend of reduction in the overall number of criminal incidents from the previous year, with significant falls in theft, burglaries and drug dealing.[6]

Crime in Victoria from 2014 to 2018 – per 100,000 people.[8]
Type 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Homicide and related offences 3.3 2.9 3.2 3.9 2.2
Assault and related offences 634.9 629.2 689.3 685.6 677.1
Sexual offenses 180.5 199.6 199.8 230.2 219.4
Abduction related offences 11.0 12.0 13.0 11.8 11.1
Robbery 43.1 41.8 49.7 50.9 48.0
Blackmail/extortion 3.5 3.8 3.2 3.0 3.5
Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour 186.6 200.4 205.0 186.3 182.8
Burglary/Break and enter 776.1 790.4 877.6 775.2 651.9
Theft 2527.0 2632.7 3018.3 2704.4 2600.4
Drug offenses (total) 431.5 494.3 491.8 461.3 473.4

Massacres of Aboriginal VictoriansEdit

Though often not recorded as crimes at the time, numerous crimes were perpetrated against Aboriginal Victorians throughout the colonial period. Among the most heinous of these crimes were massacres. The following list tallies the better documented massacres of Aboriginal Victorians. The information provided below is based on ongoing research 'Violence on the Australian Colonial Frontier, 1788–1960' undertaken by the Australian Research Council.[9][10]


Convicts were never directly transported to Victoria, however at least 300 convicts arrived in Sorrento in 1803 as part of Colonel David Collin's short-lived, first attempt at British settlement in Victoria, in 1804. This first group of convicts also included the famous escaped convict William Buckley. Over the following decades small numbers of convicts were sent from Tasmania and New South Wales to carry out government work, surveying and labour.[18]

Eureka StokadeEdit

From the 28th of November till the 3 December 1854 the Eureka Stockade took place in what is now the suburb of Eureka, Ballarat. Gold prospecters staged an uprising against the colonial government which lead to an armed conflict; 22 miners and 6 soldiers were killed. The event is significant in Australian history, particularly in regards to the development of democracy.[19] In the colony's capital of Melbourne there was enormous support from the public for the captured Eureka rebels, this support was one of the factors that lead to the creation of the Electoral Act 1856, leading to colonists being granted male suffrage, on condition of owning property, in the lower house in the Victorian parliament. [20][21]

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual AbuseEdit

In January 2012 widespread sexual and other abuse of children by personnel in religious organisations was exposed by the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry.[22] The inquiry recommended that a formal investigation should be conducted into the processes by which religious organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children within their organisation.[23] In response to the inquires recommendations, the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Ken Lay argued that the Roman Catholic Church's attempts hinder investigations be criminalised.[24]

Later in 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, announced the creation of a Royal Commission into sex abuse within the Catholic Church.[25] An estimated 60,000 Australians were abused in churches, schools, sporting clubs and health services, with the majority of the abuse occurring in New South Wales and Victoria.[26] Institutions that failed to respond appropriately or effectively to widespread child sex abuse in Victoria include: the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, The Salvation Army, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Australian Christian Churches, Australian Pentecostal churches, Yeshivah Melbourne and the Christian Brothers among others.[27] The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that one school run by the Christian Brothers, St Alipius boys school in Ballarat East, was staffed almost entirely by paedophiles.[28]

The Royal Commission found many of the worst incidences in Victoria occurred in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ballarat. One of Australia's most infamous paedophiles, former priest Gerald Ridsdale was based in Ballarat and protected by church hierarchy, who shifted Ridsdale from parish to parish, between 1961 and 1988, in order to cover-up Ridsdales crimes. Ridsdale was convicted of 138 sex offences against children, he sexually abused as many as 50 children.[29]

On 11 December 2018, Ballarat born former Cardinal George Pell, Australian prelate of the Catholic Church, was convicted on five counts of child sexual abuse of two boys in the 1990s, after a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.[30][31] The conviction makes George Pell the Catholic church's most senior official to be convicted of child sexual abuse.[32]


Despite Melbourne's CBD having the state's highest crime rate (15,949.9)[6] the city is considered one of the safest in the world[5], with Melbourne being ranked the 5th safest city globally. The notably low crime rate is one of the factors that lead to Melbourne being named the world's most liveable city by The Economist for seven years in a row up until 2017. The recorded homicide rate of Melbourne was 2.2 per 100,000 in 2018.[33][34]

Notable major crimes and criminal figuresEdit

  • Mark "Chopper" ReadMark Brandon "Chopper" Read was an Australian criminal, gang member and author. Read wrote a series of semi-autobiographical fictional crime novels and children's books and was the subject of the biographical film Chopper, starring Eric Bana.
  • Monash University shooting – The Monash University shooting was a 2002 shooting in which a 36-year-old international student killed students William Wu and Steven Chan, both 26, and injured five others including the lecturer. It took place at Monash University, in Melbourne, on 21 October 2002. The gunman, Huan Yun Xiang, was acquitted of crimes related to the shootings due to mental impairment, and is currently under psychiatric care. Several of the people present in the room of the shootings were officially commended for their bravery in tackling Xiang and ending the shooting.
  • Dimitrious Gargasoulas – Melbourne car attack – The January 2017 Melbourne car attack was a vehicular attack committed by Dimitrious Gargasoulas On 20 January 2017. Gargasoulas deliberately drove his vehicle into pedestrians in the CBD of Melbourne. Six people were killed and at least thirty others injured.[40][41] Gargasoulas, was subsequently found guilty of six counts of murder.
  • Saeed Noori – Melbourne car attack – The December 2017 Melbourne car attack was a vehicular attack that took place on the corner of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street in Melbourne's CBD. The attack resulted in the death of one person. seventeen others were injured in the attack.
  • Apex – Apex otherwise known as the Apex Gang described an informal group of young male criminals accused of being involved in street crime in and around Melbourne, Australia, in 2015–18. The name was frequently invoked during the "African Gang Crisis" debate in the media in 2018. The nature and existence of the "gang" was uncertain and many claims regarding the group have been described as exaggerated by police, politicians, journalists and others. In November 2018, Victoria's County Court Chief Judge, Peter Kidd said that media reporting gives an exaggerated portrayal of how much crime before the courts is actually being committed by people from the African community, and that accusations by politicians and the media that judges are too soft on young offenders gives the public a "skewed impression" of how sentencing works.[44]
The "Apex Gang" was brought to national attention in early 2018 after the Federal Government's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, referring to African street crime, told Sydney radio station 2GB that

The Victorian public is really outraged by some of the goings on ... the reality is people are scared to go out to restaurants of a night time because they're followed home by these gangs, home invasion and cars are stolen... We just need to call it for what it is. Of course it's African gang violence.

and in the ensuing public debate, various media invoked the Apex name in relation to this statement.
Victoria Police urged caution when describing the spate of activity as "gang crime". Victoria’s equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, stated in response that to say that Victorians were scared to go out for dinner, or that there was a perceived lawlessness in Victorian society because of the African community was not only wildly inaccurate but very dangerous. Despite repeated media claims that the criminal groups are composed of largely Sudanese youths, police have stated that this is not the case and the groups include a diverse range of young people from different ethnic backgrounds, the majority of them born in Australia.[45][46]

Rural and regional crimeEdit

Mallee MafiaEdit

The Mallee and Mildura in particular have long been associated with the Calabrian Mafia, with claims made by police in 1966 that annual organised crime meetings were held in Mildura to co-ordinate nationwide criminal activities.[47] In a 1960's National Anti-Mafia Directorate report by John T. Cusack (United States' Bureau of Narcotics) and Dr Ugo Macera (assistant commissioner of police in Calabria) claims were made that the "ancient Calabrian Secret Criminal Society known as the L'Onorata Societa" and the "`Ndrangheta" were operating "throughout the State, with large segments in the fruit growing and farming areas of Mildura and Shepparton" adding that "There are reports the Society has existed in Victoria since 1930". They have reportedly been involved in revenge killings, cannabis production and weapons purchases.[48]

During the 1980's the Mildura Mafia emerged as a major crime group that dominated marijuana production in Australia and ran an Australia-wide money-laundering network.[49] Several notable mafia murders have been linked to the region including the suspected mafia hit on 43-year-old Marco Medici in 1983, police believe the murder may be connected to the assassination of anti-drug crusader Donald MacKay at Griffith in 1977.[50] The 1984 murders of Melbourne gangsters Rocco Medici and Giuseppe Furina are also connected to Mildura through the Medici family. In 1982, 42-year-old Mildura greengrocer Dominic Marafiote and his parents were murdered after Marafiote gave South Australian police the names of Calabrian mafia bosses in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.[51] In 2016 Mildura residents Nicola Ciconte, Vincenzo Medici and Michael Calleja were convicted and sentenced in Italy for their role in a plot to smuggle up to 500 kilograms of cocaine into Australia.[52][53]

Rural methamphetamine useEdit

Beginning in 2010, Victoria has seen a significant increase in the use of Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as ice. While relatively few Australians report using ice compared to other drugs, rates of methamphetamine use are significantly higher among rural and remote areas of Victoria compared to major cities. Rural methamphetamine use rates are 2.5 times as higher than those in metropolitan areas. Prior to 2010 rates of use of illicit drugs in rural areas were significantly lower than those in the cities.[54]

In 2014, A Comancheros Motorcycle Club member and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) sniper, Joshua Faulkhead, was arrested after being caught transporting large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy between Sydney and Mildura. Faulkhead was sentenced to nine years and five months in jail.[55]

In 2015, 20 people were arrested over an alleged large drug trafficking operation in Mildura in north-west Victoria. Methamphetamine, marijuana and ecstasy were seized in the raids. The drugs seized were reported to be worth more that $15,000. $20,000 in cash and weapons were also seized.[56] Later that same year, Stephen Gillard and Geoffrey Hitchenfrom South Penrith, were arrested for possession of $300,000 worth of methamphetamines in scrubland off the Mallee Highway at Tutye, west of Ouyen. Local farmers uncovered plastic fruit juice bottles containing the drugs after noticing the men behaving strangely the previous day.[57]

In 2017, a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation lead to the seizure of $2.4 million in cash at the Mildura Airport, after 255 kilograms crystal methamphetamine were found at a storage facility in Northern California in June. the bust was part of an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to use a light plane to export drugs from the US to Australia. The 72-year-old pilot, a 52 year old man, from Zetland in Sydney's east and a 58 year old Melbourne man were charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs and money laundering offences. The crystal methamphetamine was reported to be worth $255 million. That arrests were connected to $2.4 million which was found in Mildura, in a prime mover that was driven from Adelaide in April.[58]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Crime Statistics Agency 2019", Crime Statistics Agency, 2019, archived from the original on 10 February 2019, retrieved 10 February 2019
  2. ^ "Crime Prevention & Community Safety". Victoria Police. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Crime and safety in your area". Crime Statistics Agency. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Global Peace Index 2018" (PDF). Institute for Economics and Peace.
  5. ^ a b "Safe Cities Index: Security in a rapidly urbanising world" (PDF). The Economist. The Economist Group. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Kerr, Jack. "Victoria's crime rate has fallen again, figures show". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  7. ^ Greycar, Adam. "CRIME IN TWENTIETH CENTURY AUSTRALIA". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Government. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Crime Statistics Agency Victoria". Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Story Map Journal". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Mapping the massacres of Australia's colonial frontier". University of Newcastle. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  11. ^ Clark, Ian D. (1998). "Convincing Ground". Scars in the Landscape: A Register of Massacre Sites in Western Victoria, 1883–1859. Museum Victoria. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007. ... and the whalers having used their guns beat them off and hence called the spot the Convincing Ground.
  12. ^ Bain Attwood, pp7-9 My Country. A history of the Djadja Wurrung 1837–1864, Monash Publications in History:25, 1999, ISSN 0818-0032
  13. ^ Ian D. Clark, pp103-118, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803–1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5
  14. ^ Rule, Andrew (27 April 2002). "The black watch, and a verdict of history". The Age.
  15. ^ Fighting Hills massacre:
    • Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil, p.300.
    • Michael Cannon,Life in the Country,1978 p.76.
    • Chris Clark, The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen & Unwin, 2010 p.16.
    • "Museum Victoria [ed-online] Encounters". Archived from the original on 13 July 2003. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  16. ^ Fighting Waterholes massacre:
  17. ^ Warrigal Creek massacre:
    • Ben Kiernan, Blood and soil: a world history of genocide and extermination from Sparta to Darfur, Yale University Press, 2007 p.298
    • Michael Cannon, Life in the Country: Australia in the Victorian Age,:2, (1973) Nelson 1978 p.78
  18. ^ "Victoria's early history, 1803–1851". State Library of Victoria. Victorian Government. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  19. ^ Corfield, Justin, Wickham, Dorothy, Gervasoni, Clare, Ballarat Heritage Services, The Eureka Encyclopaedia, 2004 ISBN 1-876478-61-6
  20. ^ "Women's Suffrage Petition 1894" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  21. ^ Sunterass, Anne Beggs (2003). "Contested Memories of Eureka: Museum Interpretations of the Eureka Stockade". Labour History. History Cooperative. Archived from the original on 26 April 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2006.
  22. ^ Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry Report Archived 4 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations" (PDF). Family and Community Development Committee. Parliament of Victoria. July 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  24. ^ Lee, Jane; Zwartz, Barney (11 October 2012). "Police slam Catholic Church". The Age. Australia. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  25. ^ McGregor, Ken (12 November 2012). "Pressure mounts for Royal Commission into sex abuse within the Catholic Church". The Australian. AAP. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  26. ^ Zivic, Marija; Morgan, Myles. "Child sexual abuse: 15,000 survivors to receive payouts". SBS News. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Religious Institutions". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Australian Government. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Catholic Church's 'failure' in Ballarat led to 'suffering, irreparable harm'". ABC News. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  29. ^ Lee, Jane; Donelly, Beau. "The priests and brothers who preyed on children". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  30. ^ Farhl, Paul (13 December 2018). "An Australian court's gag order is no match for the Internet, as word gets out about prominent cardinal's conviction". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  31. ^ "George Pell guilty of sexually abusing choirboys". ABC News (Australia). Australia. 26 February 2019.
  32. ^ Younger, Emma (25 February 2019). "George Pell guilty of sexually abusing choirboys". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  33. ^ Chalkley-Rhoden, Stephanie (16 August 2017). "Melbourne crowned world's most liveable city for record seventh time". ABC News. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  34. ^ "World's most liveable city 2014 is..." Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  35. ^ ""SQUIZZY" TAYLOR. THE UNDERWORLD DANDY. CONVICTS HOSTILE". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  36. ^ Cowan, Jane (10 August 2007). "Hoddle Street killer won't be forgotten". ABC News.
  37. ^ Murphy, Damien (10 December 1987). "Killer leaves trail of carnage". The Age. p. 6.
  38. ^ Flynn, A. "Carl Williams: Secret Deals and Bargained Justice – The Underworld of Victoria's Plea Bargaining System" (PDF). (2007) 19(1) Current Issues in Criminal Justice 120.
  39. ^ Neubauer, Ian Lloyd (24 September 2014). "A Teenage Terrorism Suspect Is Shot Dead in Australia After Attacking Police". TIME. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  40. ^ Butt, Craig (20 January 2017). "As it happened: CBD horror, four dead, 31 hospitalised as car knocks down pedestrians". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  41. ^ "Four dead in man's Melbourne crime spree". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  42. ^ "Brighton siege: Melbourne police launch terror probe after deadly stand-off with Holsworthy plot gunman". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  43. ^ "Melbourne attack: Man shot dead after fire and fatal stabbing". BBC News. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  44. ^ McNeill, Sophie; McGregor, Jeanavive; Carter, Lucy (5 November 2018). "If you're African and in court, 'rest assured your case will be reported on'". ABC News. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  45. ^ "Victorians scared to go to restaurants at night because of street gang violence: Peter Dutton". Sydney Morning Herald. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  46. ^ Karp, Paul (3 January 2018). "Peter Dutton says Victorians scared to go out because of 'African gang violence'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  47. ^ "Why the Calabrian mafia in Australia is so little recognised and understood". The Conversation. The Conversation Trust. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  48. ^ Moor, kieth. "Secret dossiers probed Godfathers behind Melbourne's mafia bloodshed in the 1960s". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  49. ^ Silvester, John. "I infiltrated the Mafia – but at a terrible cost". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  50. ^ Murphy, Allan. "Medici murder". Sunraysia Daily. Elliott Newspaper Group PTY Ltd. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  51. ^ Moor, Kieth. "Mafia's dark secrets". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  52. ^ Baker, Richard; McKenzie,, Nick; McKenna, Jo. "Italy convicts local Mafia". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  53. ^ Articles that refer to the Mallee/Mildura mafia connection:
  54. ^ Articles about rural ice epidemic:
  55. ^ "Former ADF sniper and Comancheros bikie boss sentenced to nine years' jail for drug trafficking". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  56. ^ "'Ice', cannabis, ecstasy seized in Mildura drug raids". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  57. ^ "Pair plead guilty over methamphetamines found buried in remote bushland at Tutye near Ouyen". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  58. ^ "Three arrested as police bust alleged conspiracy to fly ice from California to Australia". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 13 March 2019.

External linksEdit