NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2004


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Release date: 18 April 2005
Figures released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, show that NSW experienced significant decreases in nine of the 16 major categories of crime between 2003 and 2004.

Over the 24 months to December 2004, the recorded incidence of:

  • Robbery without a weapon fell 21.5 per cent
  • Robbery with a weapon other than a firearm fell 12.6 per cent
  • Break and enter dwelling fell 10.7 per cent
  • Break and enter non-dwelling fell 18.4 per cent
  • Motor vehicle theft fell 5.0 per cent
  • Steal from a motor vehicle fell 8.8 per cent
  • Steal from a retail store fell by 16.8 per cent
  • Steal from a dwelling fell by 10.4 per cent
  • Steal from the person fell by 23.9 per cent

The remaining seven major categories of crime (murder, assault, robbery with a firearm, sexual assault, indecent assault, fraud and malicious damage to property) showed no significant upward or downward trend over this period.

The overall decline in recorded crime was concentrated in the urban areas of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. The Inner Sydney Statistical Subdivision recorded the highest number of significant downward trends, with eight offences trending downwards and one trending upwards.

Although most parts of the State showed stable or falling crime, recorded rates of crime increased in certain areas. 1

Canterbury-Bankstown, Outer South Western Sydney, Inner Western Sydney and Lower Northern Sydney recorded an increase in malicious damage to property. St George-Sutherland and Outer Western Sydney recorded an increase in fraud. Inner Sydney and Gosford-Wyong recorded an increase in indecent assault. Central Northern Sydney recorded an increase in assault. The Northern Beaches recorded an increase in sexual assault. Lower Northern Sydney recorded an increase in stealing from a retail store.

Only two statistical divisions in country NSW experienced an increase in a major category of crime. The Richmond-Tweed division recorded an increase in robbery with a weapon other than a firearm. The Far West division recorded an increase in fraud.

Commenting on the figures, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that the NSW figures reflected a national trend toward lower rates of property crime that began early in 2001.

Research by the Bureau (see companion report: What caused the recent drop in property crime?) suggests that the downward trend in property crime has been influenced by several factors. These are:

  • A fall in heroin consumption
  • A rise in average weekly earnings
  • A rise in the number of heroin users returning to methadone maintenance treatment
  • Greater use of imprisonment for burglary offenders by the NSW courts; and
  • (Possibly) a fall in long-term unemployment among young men

Further enquiries:
Dr Don Weatherburn 02 9231-9190 (work) 0419-494-408 (mobile)

1 See Tables 2 and 3 of the companion document: NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2004: Regional Analysis of Crime Trends for details of percentage changes