Crime in the outback
20 July 2009
Dr Murray Lee commented upon the concept of 'Outback Crime.'
In an article by Tim Elliott published in Faifax Media, Dr Lee said crimes such as those committed by Bradley John Murdoch and Ivan Milat go to the root of our often troubled relationship with the landscape and "...its inherent ungovernability and remoteness and the idea that it's an alien world where nobody can hear you scream".
In the early 2000s, Lee and his colleagues analysed Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data on crimes across NSW geographically and in terms of population density. "What we found was that, perhaps contrary to popular belief, levels of recorded violence per 100,000 people actually increased as population decreased."
Domestic violence, in particular, was "very common".
"We spoke to one woman who lived on a remote station and who had been in a violent relationship with her husband for 20 years. The husband would unplug the phone and take the spare car keys when he left the house and then come home and clean the gun in front of her.
"She ended up walking 30 kilometres to the road hiding in scrub, just so she could make it to a women's refuge."
The common perception is that "in the bush, everyone knows everyone, and that's a good thing. But there's another side to that entirely, which is not so positive."
Contact: Greg Sherington
Phone: +61 2 9351 0202