Long-term trends in violent and property crime and NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update December 2017


Full report: NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update December 2017, pdf 1.6Mb
Long-term trends in violent and property crime in NSW: 1990-2017, pdf 630Kb

Embargo: 10.30am, Wednesday 14 March 2018

Long-term trends

Rates of robbery and major theft offences in New South Wales are at the lowest level in over 25 years, according to the latest crime statistics released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

Comparing per capita rates of crime in 2017 with per capita rates in 1990, lower rates were found for: robbery with a firearm (90% lower); motor vehicle theft (82% lower); break and enter non-dwelling (78% lower); murder (69% lower); robbery without a weapon (64% lower); break and enter dwelling (64% lower) and robbery with a weapon not a firearm (59% lower).

Three of the ten offence types analysed in BOCSAR's report were found to have recorded rates higher in 2017 than in 1990. These included sexual assault (172% higher); other sexual offences (118% higher) and assault (59% higher).

The growth in sexual assault incidents, however, is partly due to an increase in reporting of historical child sex offences (reported by the victim as an adult) and partly due to an increase in reports of recently occurred child sex offences.

It is also worth noting that while the assault rate remains higher than it was in 1990, the rate of assault in NSW has been in decline since 2009.

Recent trends

In the 24 months to December 2017 only one of the 17 major offences was increasing in NSW, four were trending downward and the remaining 12 offences were stable.

The offence trending upwards was: steal from retail store (up 3.9%). More than half of this increase is attributable to an increase in the theft of liquor.

The offences trending down were:

  1. break and enter – dwelling (down 6.5%)
  2. break and enter – non-dwelling (down 9.8%)
  3. steal from person (down 8.3%)
  4. fraud (down 4.8%)

Greater Sydney Statistical Area

Despite the falls in crime just listed, some parts of the Greater Sydney Statistical Area exhibited upward trends in some categories of crime. The most noteworthy of these were increases in:

  • Sexual assault in the Inner South West (up 37.8%), Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury (up 43.3%) and Ryde (up 42.2%);
  • Indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences in Sydney City and Inner South (up 30.6%) and Ryde (up 46.6%);
  • Robbery without a weapon in Central Coast (up 55.9%), Parramatta (up 57.9%) and South West (up 30.8%); and
  • Break and enter dwelling, break and enter non dwelling and malicious damage to property in Ryde (up 34.7%, 48.0% and 24.5%, respectively).

Regional NSW

Regional NSW generally fared better than the Greater Sydney Statistical Area. The only statistical areas to show a significant increase in recorded crime were:

  • New England and North West (robbery without a weapon up 54.2%);
  • Newcastle and Lake Macquarie (break and enter non-dwelling up 16.9%),
  • Riverina (break and enter non-dwelling up 20.8%);
  • Murray (motor vehicle theft up 25.8%); and
  • Mid North Coast (steal from retail store up 19.4%).

Commenting on the trends, the Executive Director of BOCSAR, Dr Don Weatherburn, said the long-term trends are remarkably good but there are still areas of the State with significant crime problems.  

"Local Government Areas such as Coonamble, Dubbo and Moree Plains still have crime rates many times higher than the State average" he said.  

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn Ph. 8346 1100

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au

NB. Media: Please do not ring Dr Weatherburn's mobile. Media calls are scheduled.