Recent trends in property and drug-related crime in Kings Cross

Click here for the full report (pdf, 567kb)

Release date: Thursday, 21 December 2006

There is no evidence that the medically supervised injection centre (MSIC) has had an adverse impact on drug-related crime, according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

BOCSAR examined trends in property and drug crime in Kings Cross over the period from mid-2002 (when the MSIC operations were extended) to mid-2006. This investigation follows an earlier BOCSAR study that examined trends in drug related crime in Kings Cross immediately before and after the MSIC opened.

Recorded theft offences in Kings Cross have continued the decline that began with the onset of the heroin shortage just before the MSIC opened. The number of theft offences recorded in Kings Cross fell by 34 per cent between 2002/2003 and 2005/2006.

Robbery offences in Kings Cross were stable over the four years between 2002/2003 and 2005/06. The last two years have seen a slight increase in robbery in Kings Cross but that increase is apparent across the rest of Sydney as well. Robbery offences in Kings Cross remain at substantially lower levels than they were before the opening of the MSIC.

The only drug offences to increase in Kings Cross over the period 2002/2003 to 2005/06 were possession and/or use of cocaine and dealing/trafficking in cocaine. The rate of arrest for possession and/or use of cocaine also increased throughout the rest of Sydney, not just in Kings Cross. The jump in arrests for dealing/trafficking cocaine was very small, lasted only a couple of months and has since disappeared.

BOCSAR also examined trends in the use of police 'move-on' powers. Police use these powers to discourage people from loitering for the purposes of purchasing or selling drugs.

There was a sharp increase in the use of police 'move on' powers when the MSIC opened and this increased level of enforcement activity has been sustained at a high level ever since, not only in the Kings Cross Local Area Command (LAC) but in the City Central LAC as well.

According to the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, this heightened level of drug law enforcement activity in Kings Cross may be one reason why surveys of Kings Cross residents and counts of loiterers show little evidence of an increase in drug-related loitering.

Commenting on the findings, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Weatherburn, described them as reassuring. However, because the effects of the MSIC could change over time, the Bureau will continue to closely monitor trends in crime in Kings Cross.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn: 0419-494-408.