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Help Notes for Trend Tool

How to use the Crime Trends tool

The Crime trends tool shows you whether the incidence of crime in a selected region and for a selected offence has been going up, going down or has remained stable over a period you specify. You can choose to look at all of NSW or a smaller region, for instance a Local Government Area (LGA). Although this tool helps you to find your Statistical Division (SD), Statistical Subdivision (SSD) or LGA of interest by allowing you to search by suburb name and postcode, it does not report trends for suburbs or postcode areas. The smallest type of region available for querying is LGA.

Step 1 – Select Region

Click on the to the right of the box containing the words "Select region by…" This shows a list of options.

Select by LGA Name

If you know the name of the Local Government Area that interests you, choose "LGA name". The box on the right will now show the words "Enter LGA Name to continue…". Click into the box, then type in the LGA's name and click on "Find".

In addition, to a list of matching LGAs, you will see the SDs and SSDs to which these LGAs belong. Click on the small circle next to the name of the region you are interested in.

The button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 2>" should now be active. Click on this, and your chosen region will be displayed e.g. "Selected Region is: Coolamon Local Government Area"

Select by Postcode

Click on the to the right of the box containing the words "Select region by…" then click on "Postcode". The box on the right will now show the words "Enter Postcode to continue…". Click into the box, then type in the postcode and click on "Find".

This will bring up a list of all suburbs with that postcode, and show the LGA that the postcode falls into. The SD and SSD will also be listed, so you can choose a larger area if you wish. Click on the small circle next to the name of the region you are interested in.

Occasionally a postcode falls into more than one LGA. In that case, more than one LGA name will be listed, along with the relevant SD and SSD. Click on the small circle next to the name of the region you decide to find out about.

The button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 2>" should now be active. Click on this, and your chosen region will be displayed e.g. "Selected Region is: Sydney Statistical Division"

Select by Suburb

Click on the to the right of the box containing the words "Select region by…" then click on "Suburb". The box on the right will now show the words "Enter Suburb to continue…". Click into the box, then type in the suburb name and click on "Find".

The button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 2>" should now be active. Click on this, and your chosen region will be displayed e.g. "Selected Region is: Outer Western Sydney Statistical Subdivision"

Select another region

If you are looking for information on a SD or SSD within NSW, and you know its name, the quickest way to find the data is to use the Other Region option.

Click on the to the right of the box containing the words "Select region by…" then click on "Other Region". The box on the right will now show the words "Enter Other Region to continue…". Click into the box, then type in the name and click on "Find".

For example, if you type in Murrumbidgee as the "other region", you will be offered the Murrumbidgee Statistical Division, the statistical subdivisions of Central Murrumbidgee and Lower Murrumbidgee, and all the LGAs within the Murrumbidgee Division. Click on the small circle next to the name of the region you are interested in.

The button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 2>" should now be active. Click on this, and your chosen region will be displayed e.g. "Selected Region is: Lower Murrumbidgee Statistical Subdivision

Select all of NSW

Click on the to the right of the box containing the words "Select region by…" then click on "NSW". The box on the right will now show the words "All of NSW - Click 'Go To Step 2 >".

The button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 2>" should now be active. Click on this, and the screen will display - Selected Region is: All of NSW"


Step 2 – Select Offence Type

The Crime trends tool offers a list of over 60 offences. The most commonly requested offences are shown on the screen - they can be selected by clicking into the small checkbox next to each one. You can select more than one offence at a time.

If the offence that interests you is not on the list, click on the 'See Complete Offence List' button. This will display all available offences. Choose one or more offences by clicking into the checkbox next to each offence.

When you have selected the offences that you wish to know more about, click on the button on the right of the screen marked "Go to Step 3>".


Step 3 – Select Date Range

The final step is to decide the time period over which you wish to calculate a trend. This is done by setting the number of years that you wish to include and the last month and year of your chosen time period.

Click on the next to the number 2 then click one of the numbers. The shortest time period over which a trend can be calculated is two years and the greatest time period is ten years.

Next, click on the to the right of the box containing the words "December/04" and choose the end date of your time period.

For example, to see crime trends for three financial years up to June 2003, select 3 as the number of years and June/03 as the end date.

When you have selected the number of years and end-date, click on the button on the right of the screen marked "Show Crime Trends."

Please note: crime statistics are only available from January 1995 to December 2004. If you enter a number of years and end date which would require data from before January 1995, you will see the following error message: You have selected a combination of the number of years and an end date for which there is no data. Please select a later end date or reduce the number of years.

Understanding Crime trends

The Crime trends tool produces two tables of information. Table 1 firstly shows the annual totals for the number of incidents of each selected offence. If you have chosen to look at two years data, it will have two columns of figures, each showing the annual total for one year. If you requested five years data, it will have five columns of figures.

The table also indicates whether there is a statistically significant trend in the recorded crime figures. The trend will be reported as Up, Down or Stable. Occasionally, you will notice that the number of incidents under a particular offence category might have risen or fallen, but the crime trends tool reports the trend as Stable. This is because the statistical test used to determine the monthly trend has found that the changes are the result of random fluctuations in the number of incidents and there is no underlying upward or downward trend.

Where there were fewer than 20 instances of an offence in one year, a trend will not be calculated. This is because, with such small numbers, changes may be due more to random fluctuations rather than indicating an underlying trend.

Table 2 gives the monthly number of recorded crimes for each offence you have selected. Each offence is displayed in a separate column.

After viewing the figures on screen, you have the choice of downloading the information to your own computer as either a PDF file or a CSV file. These options are shown at the top right of the screen.

Another option is to view the crime data as a graph. Click on View Graph next to the trend information in Table 1.

Calculating Crime trends

The trend test used in the crime trends tool is Kendall's rank-order correlation test (see for example, Conover, W.J., 1980, Practical Non-Parametric Statistics, 2nd edn, John Wiley and Sons, pp 256-260). A two tailed test was used to determine whether there had been an increasing or decreasing trend in the recorded numbers of criminal incidents over the period selected for the table. Some month to month variations in the numbers could be due in part to seasonal factors. The test for trend is not sensitive to seasonal variations; it is sensitive only to a generally increasing or decreasing trend over the time period examined.

What does PDF mean?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. PDF documents can be viewed using Adobe Reader
Download Adobe Reader from the Adobe website

What does CSV mean?

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. Data in CSV format can be imported into spreadsheet packages such as Excel.