NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update: March 2011

Click here for the full report (pdf, 142Kb)

Release date: 7 June 2011

The latest crime figures for the most part continue the pattern of stable or falling crime in NSW established over the last decade, according to figures released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

In the 24 months to March 2011, 11 of the 17 major offences were stable and five were trending downwards. One offence, assault - domestic violence related, was trending upwards (up 1.2%). The offences trending downwards were:

  • Robbery without a weapon (down 12.9%)
  • Robbery with a weapon not a firearm (down 11.1%)
  • Break and enter non-dwelling (down 10.4%)
  • Motor vehicle theft (down 10.3%) and
  • Malicious damage to property (down 9.1%).

Eight statistical divisions (SDs) showed upward trends in at least one offence. They were as follows:

  • Sydney: Assault - domestic violence related (up 3.3%)
  • Hunter: Indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences (up 14.2%) and fraud (up 18.6%)
  • Illawarra: Break and enter non-dwelling (up 22.3%)
  • Mid-North Coast: Steal from retail store (up 14.8%)
  • Northern: Assault - domestic violence related (up 5.9%), indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences (up 14.6%), break and enter dwelling (up 19.9%), motor vehicle theft (up 6.6%) and steal from motor vehicle (up 6.8%)
  • North Western: Assault - domestic violence related (up 12.9%)
  • Murrumbidgee: Steal from retail store (up 17.0%) and
  • Far West: Fraud (up 44.9%).

Ten of the sixteen metropolitan statistical subdivisions (SSDs) showed upward trends in at least one offence. They were as follows:

  • St George-Sutherland: Assault -  domestic violence related (up 5.3%)
  • Canterbury-Bankstown: Assault  -  domestic violence related (up 14.1%)
  • Fairfield-Liverpool: Steal from retail store (up 9.8%)
  • Outer South Western Sydney: Steal from retail store (up 18.7%)
  • Outer Western Sydney: Assault - domestic violence related (up 9.9%) and steal from person (up 16.6%)
  • Blacktown: Steal from motor vehicle (up 12.0%)
  • Central Northern Sydney: Assault - domestic violence related (up 1.1%)
  • Central Coast: Break and enter dwelling (up 21.3%) and fraud (up 25.7%)
  • Newcastle: Indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences (up 14.7%) and fraud (up 14.9%) and
  • Wollongong: Break and enter non-dwelling (up 35.6%).

The best performing LGAs were Marrickville and Ku-ring-gai, with downward trends for six of the 17 major offences. One LGA (Coonamble) had upward trends for five of the 17 major offences and three LGAs had upward trends for three offences. These were the Port Macquarie-Hastings, Gunnedah and Tamworth Regional LGAs. Details are provided in Table 3.3A on pages 18-19 of the report.

NSW trends in the expanded list of 62 offences

Among the expanded list of 62 offences for the 24 months to March 2011, 16 showed an upward trend at the State level. In addition to assault -  domestic violent related, mentioned above, they were:

  • Harassment, threatening behavior and private nuisance (up 3.0%)
  • Stock theft (up 21.7%)
  • Other theft (up 1.4%)
  • Possession and/or use of cannabis (up 36.2%)
  • Possession and/or use of amphetamines (up 47.1%)
  • Possession and/or use of other drugs (up 35.4%)
  • Dealing, trafficking in cannabis (up 28.3%)
  • Dealing, trafficking in amphetamines (up 75.5%)
  • Cultivating cannabis (up 4.0%)
  • Other drug offences (up 12.1%)
  • Prostitution offences (up 91.0%)
  • Breach Apprehended Violence Order (up 3.9%)
  • Breach bail conditions (up 10.6%)
  • Fail to appear (up 6.9%) and
  • Transport regulatory offences (up 29.8%).

Other noteworthy trends

The downward trend in assault on licensed premises (down 8.7% across all licensed premises) has returned after the stable result reported in the quarter to December 2010.

The first three months of 2011 saw a spike in the number of offences involving 'unlawfully discharge firearm' and (to a lesser extent) 'discharge firearm into premises', but the overall trend in these offences remained stable over the 24 months to March 2011 for NSW.

The first three months of 2011 also saw a spike in the number of incidents of stock theft, particularly in the Murrumbidgee, Murray and South Eastern Statistical Subdivisions.

Commenting on the overall figures, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that the upward trends are largely confined to detected crime as opposed to reported crime.

"t is difficult to ascertain in these cases whether the increase in recorded crime reflects an increase in the actual incidence of crime, an increase in law enforcement activity, or both.

The exception to this is the upward trend in recorded incidents involving use and/or possession of amphetamines. Past research by the Bureau suggests that an increase in arrests for this offence usually signals an increase in amphetamine consumption."

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02-9231-9190