Open letter to the Age Newspaper
29 July 2008
250 Spencer Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
The unauthorised release of Victoria Police crime statistics ("Violent crime jump: police leak", Age 29/07/08) is in no way related to the security of the LEAP database. It is misleading the public to relate this release to past leaks of LEAP data.
The statistics released are an anonymous summary analysis of the incidence of crime.
They are not a copy of information from LEAP. No confidential information about any individual has been released.
This is not a case of a "leak" from the LEAP database but of an individual who has chosen to publish Victoria Police statistics without permission.
It is unfair to create anxiety in the Victorian community by implying that their confidential information held by Victoria Police is under threat.
for Law Enforcement Data Security
Level 9, Yarra Tower
World Trade Centre
This letter is in response to the following article published in The Age 29 July 2008
LEAP leak shows violent crime jump
By DAVID ROOD
STATE POLITICAL REPORTER
VIOLENT crimes have risen to record highs in Victoria, leaked police data shows.
The statistics were leaked to the State Opposition from the confidential police LEAP database, and showed that crimes against people, including assault and robbery, increased by 1.4% in 2007-08 compared with the previous year.
Almost 43,000 people suffered from violent crime in 2007-08.
The provisional statistics also revealed the number of crimes had increased in 15 of 27 categories, but the overall crime rate fell by.4%.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu seized on the leak, saying the figures showed that the Government had failed to protect Victorians, and that there were not enough police on the streets.
The crimes about which police are most vitally concerned, and about which the community is vitally concerned, are crimes against the person," he said.
The police have launched an investigation into the leak, saying they were "extremely disappointed" that the statistics had been released.
In recent years security problems with the LEAP (Law Enforcement Assistance Program) database have included the mistaken release of confidential information on hundreds of people.
The leaked data does not take into account Victoria's population growth.
Mr Baillieu said the Government spent less on police than any other government, and the evidence was compelling for more front-line officers.
"The so-called plan to combat violent crime has instead been a collection of rushed initiatives, cheap, half-baked and poorly planned stunts, such as the bungled 2am lock-out," he said.
The data also showed the number of homicides fell by 14.2% to 169, while rape was down by 8.2%.
The rates of aggravated burglary increased by 4.2% and theft from motor vehicles jumped by 12.2%, but drug cultivation, manufacturing and trafficking offences dropped by 11.8%.
But Mr Baillieu refused to comment on the source of the leak or the security of the LEAP data base, saying the information was normally made public.
The percentage of crimes that were resolved fell by 1.2% to 43.3%.
Premier John Brumby said Victoria continued to be the safest state in Australia, and the increase in violent crime had been driven by the abuse of alcohol.
"We have got an issue with alcohol-fuelled violence," he said. "We've said this is a priority, we are tackling it, we need to do more, but this is alcoholdriven."
Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walsh said the police had launched an investigation into the source of the leaked data.
He said the data was based on provisional figures that had yet to be verified. The leak caused unnecessary concern in the community, until verified crime statistics were released, he said.