NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2008


Click here for the full report (pdf, 531Kb)

Release date: 15 April 2009, Embargo: 10.30am

Figures released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show that two major categories of crime rose, seven remained stable and eight fell over the 24 months to December 2008.

Over the 24 months to December 2008, there were increases in the recorded incidence of:

  • Steal from a retail store (up 7.8 per cent)
  • Fraud (up 15.7 per cent)

These increases were counterbalanced by decreases in the recorded incidence of:

  • Robbery without a weapon (down 6.0 per cent)
  • Robbery with a firearm (down 31.0 per cent)
  • Robbery with a weapon not a firearm (down 19.1 per cent)
  • Break and enter - dwelling (down 5.9 per cent)
  • Break and enter - non-dwelling (down 6.2 per cent)
  • Motor vehicle theft (down 8.9 per cent)
  • Steal from motor vehicle (down 7.0 per cent)
  • Steal from person (down 12.2 per cent)

The remaining seven major categories of crime ( murder, assault - domestic violence related, assault - non-domestic violence related, sexual assault, indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences, steal from dwelling and malicious damage to property) remained stable.

The increase in fraud is largely due to a surge in petrol theft during 2008. Toward the end of 2008 there was a sharp fall in the price of petrol and this brought about a fall in the incidence of petrol theft during last November and December that is likely to continue into this year.

The regional picture generally mirrored the State picture across the 154 Local Government Areas (LGAs), with 94 per cent of all trend tests for 17 major categories of crime showing either stable or falling crime. There were a few areas, however, where the regional trends bucked the trend for the State as a whole.

The most notable of these was a 16 per cent increase in the recorded incidence of break and enter - dwelling and a 28 per cent increase in steal from motor vehicle in the Central West Statistical Division.

The growth in break and enter - dwelling came from three LGAs within the Central West Statistical Division: Cabonne (up 30 per cent), Forbes (up 51 per cent) and Orange (up 56 per cent). The increase in steal from motor vehicle came from two LGAs within the Division: Cowra (up 198 per cent) and Orange (up 93 per cent).

There were substantial decreases in most major categories of crime across most urban areas in NSW. The Inner Sydney Statistical Subdivision stood out with decreases of more than 20 per cent in five categories of crime: robbery with a firearm, robbery with a weapon not a firearm, break and enter - dwelling, motor vehicle theft and steal from a motor vehicle and decreases of more than 10 per cent in three other categories of crime: break and enter - non-dwelling, steal from dwelling and steal from person.

The best performing LGAs in the State were Sydney, which had downward trends for nine out of 17 major categories and Marrickville, which had downward trends in seven of 17 major categories. The worst performing LGAs were Baulkham Hills and Orange, both of which had upward trends for five of the 17 major categories.

At the state level there were significant increases in recorded incidents of a number of categories of crime outside the top 17. These included:

  • Possession and/or use of cocaine (up 58.6 per cent)
  • Possession and/or use of cannabis (up 19.6 per cent)
  • Possession and/or use of ecstasy (up 66.0 per cent)
  • Possession and/or use of other drugs (up 27.8 per cent)
  • Dealing and/or trafficking cannabis (up 17.3 per cent)
  • Other drug offences (up 8.0 per cent)
  • Offensive conduct (up 23.5 per cent)
  • Offensive language (up 15.9 per cent)
  • Breach bail conditions (up 26.1 per cent)
  • Fail to appear (up 21.1 per cent)
  • Transport regulatory offences (up 8.1 per cent)

According to the Bureau, most of these changes probably reflect increased law enforcement rather than increased crime. The exception is the increase in the recorded incidents of possession and/or use of cocaine.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found that between 2007 and 2008 there was a 63% increase in the percentage of intravenous drug users reporting cocaine use in the previous six months. Australian Federal Police (AFP) seizures of cocaine were also up in the first half of last year. The increase in arrests for cocaine probably reflects, at least in part, a growth in the use of this drug.

Although the overall category of prohibited and regulatedweapons offences remained stable, NSW Police recorded a 26 per cent increase in the number of incidents where firearms were discharged into premises, from 77 incidents in 2007 to 97 incidents in 2008. Thirty-six per cent of the incidents in 2008 occurred in the Fairfield-Liverpool and Central Western Sydney Statistical Subdivisions.

Commenting on the findings, the director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that the downward trends in robbery were particularly encouraging.

"NSW has historically had the highest robbery rates in the country. Yet the rate of robbery with a firearm in NSW is now at its lowest point in more than 15 years, while the rate of robbery with a weapon other than a firearm is lower than it has been in more than a decade."

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190.

View annual report in pdf - 532Kb
View report: An update of long-term trends in property and violent crime in New South Wales: 1990-2008 in pdf - 348Kb

Graphs on trends:

View Trend in violent crime NSW: 1995 - 2008
View Trend in property crime NSW: 1995 - 2008
View Trend in robbery with a firearm NSW: 1990 - 2008