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Release date: Thursday, 12 September 2013
The number of fraud offences reported to police jumped by 22 per cent over the 24 months to June this year, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics latest quarterly crime report.
The Bureau's June Quarterly Report covers trends in crime across 154 Local Government Areas (LGAs) over the 24 months to June 2013.
Most of the increase in fraud occurred in retail or wholesale outlets (up 41.7% excluding service stations) and financial institutions (up 43.8%). The majority of these offences involve the unauthorized use of credit cards and bank cards.
Failing to pay for petrol from service only rose by 5.6 per cent. This is in marked contrast to earlier years when failing to pay for petrol accounted for a large proportion of the overall growth in fraud.
The latest Bureau figures also show a significant upward trend in stealing from a retail store (up 3.8%). Liquor is the most commonly recorded stolen item, increasing by 34.5 per cent over the last two years.
Three offences showed significant downward trends: break and enter non-dwelling (down 7.6%), motor vehicle theft (down 11.0%) and malicious damage to property (down 5.3%). The remaining 12 major offence categories were stable.
Sizeable increases were also recorded in a number of recorded drug possession offences. Possession of ecstasy showed the largest increase (up 70.8 percent).
According to the Bureau, however, much of this increase is due to isolated spikes in drug possession arrests following police operations in Sydney, Byron, Auburn, Maitland, Blacktown, Randwick and Waverley LGAs.
Criminal intent also rose 58.0 percent, due to an increase in recorded incidents of "consorting". These incidents, however, are warnings against consorting rather than consorting offences per se. Legal proceedings for consorting have only been commenced against 12 people in the 12 months to June 2013.
Shooting offences (unlawfully discharge firearm, unlawfully discharge firearm into premises, shoot with intent to murder and shoot with intent other than to murder) have remained stable.
Assault on licensed premises has remained stable over the last two years but has been declining by an average of 7.9 per cent per annum over the last five years.
The Northern, North Western, Murray and Far Western Statistical Divisions (SDs) did not exhibit any upward trends in any the major offences. Eight SDs recorded an upward trend in at least one offence, mostly for stealing from a retail store or fraud. These were:
Fourteen of the sixteen metropolitan statistical subdivisions (SSDs) showed upward trends in at least one offence. Most of the increases concerned fraud or stealing from a retail store but there were also notable increases in indecent assault and related offences in Inner Western Sydney (up 38.0%) and in domestic assault in Newcastle (20.6%).
Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn (02) 9231-9190
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au