News Article



Crime rates and the assessment of risk

A key consideration in security risk assessments is the influence local crime rates might have against operational security risks. This is particularly important in workplaces where there are public-facing staff such as receptionists, customer service officers and other operational workers who might be exposed to aggression and other potentially violent crimes. Risks must also be considered for staff entering and leaving the workplace including the development of suitable treatments such as increased awareness.

A series of recently conducted security risk assessments across the State has revealed public-facing staff are regularly confronted by aggressive and threatening individuals. 

Workplace violence is not a new phenomenon but crime trends can inform those responsible for systems of security and safety of trends where the likelihood of incidents is increasing.

Victoria Police recently released crime statistics for 2014 with some significant areas of concern.  Of the 456,000 reported crimes a general increase of 2.5% or about 18,000 more reported crimes than the previous year was noted.  Drug offences and family violence are two areas experiencing significant growth. 

Currently police are called to a family violence incident across the State every eight minutes. This sounds like an epidemic as more than 68,000 offences were associated with family violence investigations.

Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour increased by about 10% from the previous year.  Again, an area of criminal behaviour that might be evidenced across the workforce.  Cyber harassment is also on the increase with an upward trend in reports of threatening behaviours online.

Risk assessors and security leaders need to take notice of crime rates and risks associated with offending behaviours that might arise in and around the workplace. Treating these risks should include developing competence of workers in terms of their individual safety and also that of their colleagues. Protocols should be reviewed and where required enhanced.  The organisation should also encourage reporting of incidents so a true picture of inappropriate behaviours across the workplace is understood.

Dr Tony Zalewski