Number of Aussies arrested abroad doubles in 10 years


Two women from Australia look at a map of Manhattan on December 21, 2011 in New York City.


Spencer Platt

So did the Croatian minister who recently said drunken Aussies should prevented from tearing up the streets of beautiful Dubrovnik have a point?

In a further indication that antipodeans may be forgetting to pack their common sense along with the passport and change of underwear, Australian government figures reveal that at least two Aussies a day are arrested for crimes somewhere in the world.

OK, it may not sound like much, you say.

According to the US State Department, American consular officers conducted more than 9,500 prison visits overseas, and assisted more than 3,500 Americans who were arrested abroad.

But America's population is 312,827,212 and counting. Australia's is 22,798,823. You do the math.

And besides, it's double the number of Aussies who were getting into trouble overseas a decade ago, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, citing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade figures.

At any given time, more than 250 Australians are in prisons overseas, according to the department website.

The SMH notes that the number reached record levels in 2010-2011, with 313 in jail.

In the same period, 1,069 Australians were arrested for offenses ranging from attempted murder and assault to kidnapping, theft and tax evasion. In comparison, 568 Australians were arrested in 2001, while 208 were imprisoned.

Assault was the most  common crime perpetrated by the Aussie travelers, according to the department's figures, with drug offenses a close second and boring old visa violations third.

Burglary, corruption, fraud, illegal recruitment, pedophilia, prostitution and sexual assault also made the list. 

And perhaps that's where Pave Zupan Ruskovic — the former Croatian Tourism Minister who lost her job for warned "drunken and crazy" young Australians to stay away from her little Adriatic Shangri-la — got it wrong.

(Read more: Croatian official fired after "drunken and crazy" comments aimed at Aussie and NZ tourists

When it comes to Aussies behaving badly on your doorstep, don't sweat the small stuff. Things could be a whole lot worse.