In the 24 months to September 2011, crimes such as assault and motor theft were tending downwards in New South Wales.
The offences trending downwards were:
- Assault – non-domestic violence related (down 5.8%)
- Robbery without a weapon (down 17.9%)
- Break and enter dwelling (down 3.3%)
- Break and enter non-dwelling (down 2.1%)
- Motor vehicle theft (down 8.0%)
- Steal from person (down 5.6%) and
- Malicious damage to property (down 6.0%).
Five statistical divisions (SDs) showed upward trends in at least one offence. They were as follows:
- Hunter: Robbery with a weapon not a firearm (up 34.7% with 97 incidents - up from 72 in previous 12 months), steal from motor vehicle (up 24.7%) and fraud (up 9.1%)
- Illawarra: Steal from motor vehicle (up 28.3%)
- Murrumbidgee: Steal from motor vehicle (up 23.9%)
- Murray: Sexual assault (up 28.1%) and
- Far West: Fraud (up 54.5%).
Seven from sixteen metropolitan statistical subdivisions (SSDs) showed upward trends in at least one offence. They were as follows:
- Canterbury-Bankstown: Steal from motor vehicle (up 20.2%) and steal from retail store (up 19.4%)
- Fairfield-Liverpool: Steal from dwelling (up 26.4%)
- Outer South Western Sydney: Steal from retail store (up 6.8%)
- Central Northern Sydney: Steal from person (up 38.9%)
- Central Coast: Steal from motor vehicle (up 8.7%) and fraud (up 12.3%)
- Newcastle: Steal from motor vehicle (up 22.2%) and fraud (up 11.5%) and
- Wollongong: Steal from motor vehicle (up 28.0%).
The best performing LGAs were Penrith and Sydney – each recording six significant downward trends from the 17 major offences. Lake Macquarie recorded upward trends for three offences. Details are provided in Table 3.3A on pages 18-19 of the report.
The increases in steal from motor vehicle and fraud are related. Average Sydney petrol prices over the 12 months to September 2011 have risen 11.5 per cent on the previous 12 months. This has produced an increase in petrol theft (which is a form of fraud) and stealing (number plates) from a motor vehicle. The stolen number plates prevent the offender being identified via vehicle registration records.
Fraud offences rose in two SDs (Hunter and Far West) as well as two metropolitan SSDs (Central Coast and Newcastle) and nine LGAs. Frauds at service stations rose significantly in the Hunter SD, Lower Northern Sydney SSD, St George-Sutherland SSD, Central Coast SSD and Newcastle SSD. Number plates remain the most frequently stolen item from cars and number plate thefts are up 32.8 per cent in the 12 months to September 2011.
Steal from retail store rose in two metropolitan SSDs (Canterbury-Bankstown and Outer South Western Sydney) and 11 LGAs. The objects stolen remain unchanged from the previous quarter. They include liquor (mainly spirits), clothing/footwear, food and home entertainment/electronic items. Items such as chips, chocolate and ice-cream feature commonly among the food thefts. There is no evidence that food is being stolen ‘to make ends meet’.
NSW trends in the expanded list of 62 offences
Among the expanded list of 62 offences for the 24 months to September 2011, nine showed an upward trend at the State level. They were:
- Abduction and kidnapping (up 31.2%)
- Stock theft (up 31.7%)
- Possession and/or use of cannabis (up 18.3%)
- Possession and/or use of amphetamines (up 35.8%)
- Possession and/or use of other drugs (up 28.2%)
- Dealing, trafficking in cannabis (up 13.2%)
- Other drug offences (up 9.1%)
- Breach bail conditions (up 18.0%) and
- Transport regulatory offences (up 19.3%).
For the offence abduction and kidnapping, the incident count has returned to a level from two years ago after an unusually low count for the year to September 2010. The trend is confined mostly to victims 10 to 17 years of age and where the offender is not known to the victim. Almost a third of these incidents were attempted abduction and kidnapping (31.4%).
The significant uptrend in stock theft (both sheep and cattle) was quite widespread, with four SDs recording uptrends (North Western, Central West, South Eastern and Murrumbidgee. Incident levels remain too small to conduct tests at the LGA level.
The surge in arrests for possession and/or use of amphetamines is probably indicative of a continuing increase in amphetamine consumption.
Other noteworthy trends
The downward trend in assault on licensed premises (down 6.3% across all licensed premises types) has continued on from similar results reported in the quarter to June 2011. More specifically, the two main categories within the licensed premises types returned significant downward trends: assaults in clubs were down 18.2 per cent and in hotels/pubs they were down 4.1 per cent. They were stable in nightclubs, licensed restaurants and wine-bars.
Over the last two years the number of incidents involving assault – non-domestic violence related with a glass/bottle has declined by 12.0 per cent, but assault – domestic violence related with a glass/bottle increased by 3.6 per cent over the same period.