Posted May 05, 2018 07:21:37A new report has found that the country’s rising rates of crime are largely due to people taking their own lives, a phenomenon that experts say is “bizarre”.
Key points:”People are getting more desperate for a solution” in the wake of the tragic events of May 13, when two teenage boys were murdered and their bodies found in a Sydney parkA study shows that the rate of violent crime is at a 40-year highA recent study of crime trends shows that more Australians are dying by suicide than in any other time since records beganThe new report, titled “What You Need to Know About Suicide”, also found that more people are dying of suicide in Australia, with one in three Australians reporting having taken their own life.
“People want to end their lives,” said Professor Tim Pugh, who led the study and was the lead author of the report.
“There is a real risk that people will die.”
Professor Pugh said the rate had risen to 40 per cent among young people between 15 and 24, which was a “very unusual” and “barking” number for the population.
“It’s a very high rate of suicide among young men and it’s also high among young women,” he said.
“The young men who commit suicide are more likely to be the victims of a violent crime, and they’re also more likely than the young women to be victims of domestic violence.”
The latest study, which involved data from the Australian Institute of Criminology, found that in the past 10 years, there has been a 44 per cent rise in the number of suicides in Australia compared with the previous 10.
Professor Puddles analysis of the data shows that “more young people have taken their lives, and that’s a reflection of a general increase in suicide rates”.
“The fact that there are more young people committing suicide means that there is a rise in suicides in the population, and also a rise among young females who have taken a life,” he added.
“We see a significant increase in the proportion of young women committing suicide.”
A study of Australia’s murder rates by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has also revealed that the number had risen by 10 per cent in the last decade.
“Our findings show that we’re seeing a very different story than the way we would have expected,” Professor Puddes said.
In the past two years, the AFP has reported a record number of murders, and there are fears that there could be another rise this year.
In a statement, the agency said the “new trends” could mean “a higher crime rate”.
“We are currently investigating the possibility that the recent increase in murders is a more recent phenomenon than has been previously suspected,” AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said.
But Professor Pugh is sceptical.
“These trends are not unusual, and if you look at the Australian crime rates in the US and Canada, we’re actually not seeing any significant changes,” he told ABC Radio National.
“This is a country that has not seen a significant decrease in violent crime in recent years.”
The findings of the Australian Crime Commission’s report also found the rate at which people were dying of accidental poisoning in Australia had risen from 1.9 per cent to 2.3 per cent.
“A significant proportion of accidental poisonings are accidental,” the report found.
“And so if you’re dying of an accidental poison you’re likely to die from the symptoms, and in fact there’s a range of conditions that can cause poisoning.”
Professor Nick Beal, a criminologist at Monash University, said the rise in deaths was a problem that needed to be addressed.
“When we think about crime trends in the United States we tend to look at homicides and suicide and crime rates but when we look at crime trends over a longer period of time, you look more broadly at the way crime is being organised and the way people are being affected, there’s very little evidence to suggest there’s been a significant rise in homicides in Australia,” he explained.
“So it is a very, very complex and highly complex problem, and one that’s going to be very difficult to solve.”
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