Court Convictions in Austria Increase in 2023

Court Convictions in Austria Increase in 2023

In 2023, there were 27,268 judicial convictions in Austria, marking a 3.1 percent increase compared to 2022. As reported by Statistics Austria on Friday, these convictions were based on 44,376 offenses. The largest groups of offenses were again crimes against property (31.2 percent) and crimes against life and limb (18.5 percent). The number of convicted murders increased by 21.6 percent compared to the previous year.

Each conviction in 2023 comprised an average of 1.63 offenses, with 25,033 individuals being legally convicted. “After the pandemic-related low in convictions in 2020 and 2021, the numbers in 2022 and 2023 have risen by more than three percent each year but are still about eight percent below the 2019 level,” said Statistics Austria Director-General Tobias Thomas.

The number of offenses against life and limb remained almost unchanged compared to 2022 (8,203 offenses). However, increases were noted in specific offenses, including murder (90 convictions, up 21.6 percent) and bodily harm (up 2.5 percent), while decreases were observed in negligent or grossly negligent homicide (down 18.7 percent) and intentional grievous bodily harm (down 10.3 percent). The notable relative increases and decreases in homicide offenses are based on low-case numbers.

There was a significant increase in crimes against property (up 10.2 percent or 1,280 offenses). Notably, theft offenses (up 19.7 percent) and professional theft and theft within a criminal organization (up 26.2 percent) saw significant rises. Offenses against the Aliens Police Act, particularly human smuggling, also rose sharply (up 45 percent).

Contrary to the general trend, some groups of offenses saw declining numbers in 2023. For instance, crimes against the administration of justice (down 11.7 percent) and crimes against the reliability of documents and evidence marks (down 7.9 percent) decreased.

The demographic composition of convicted individuals remained largely unchanged compared to the previous year. Of those convicted in 2023, 84.3 percent were male. At the time of the offense, 85.7 percent of those convicted were over 20 years old, 8.8 percent were young adults between 18 and 20 years, and 5.5 percent were juveniles between 14 and 17 years old.

For juveniles, who have recently been a focus of political attention, the picture in 2023 was complex. On average, young adults made up 3.5 percent of the criminally responsible population, and juveniles made up 4.4 percent. Thus, young adults were significantly overrepresented among those convicted. However, compared to 2019, the number of convicted juveniles decreased by 15.1 percent, and the number of convicted young adults fell by 20.3 percent.

Eight percent of the convicted individuals in 2023 were convicted more than once. More than half of the convicted individuals (57.5 percent) had no prior conviction by an Austrian court at the time of their first conviction in 2023. The remaining 42.5 percent had at least one prior conviction still recorded in the criminal register.

In 2023, the recidivism rate, defined as the percentage of those re-convicted within four years after release or conviction, was 30 percent, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points from the previous year. Of the total 25,579 individuals convicted or released in 2019, around two-thirds (70 percent) did not receive another legal conviction within four years, while about one-third were re-convicted during that period.

 

Photo: APA/dpa/Andreas Gebert

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