TOUGHER sentencing is less of a deterrent to property crime than increased security, according to an Australian Institute of Criminology survey of those who would know best.
According to the institute, between 2001 and 2009 motor vehicle theft declined by 57 per cent, burglary declined by 49 per cent and other theft fell by 32 per cent.
Data in subsequent years could not be used, the AIC said, because definitions and counting rules changed.
To get to the bottom of the decline, the AIC interviewed 994 police detainees at Brisbane and Southport in Queensland, Bankstown and Parramatta in New South Wales, Footscray in Victoria, Adelaide in South Australia, East Perth in Western Australia and Darwin in the Northern Territory in 2012.
All were asked: "Can you think of any reasons why property crime has decreased over the last 10 years?"
Of the 470 who answered the question, the most frequent answer was improved security (31 per cent), changes to policing (20 per cent), increased affluence (11 per cent) and increased imprisonment (10 per cent).
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