Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Recorded Crime Statistics 2023: Crime in NSW far worse in regional and rural areas

Release date: Thursday 14 March 2024

Link to report summary:

New research from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) exploring crime patterns in regional NSW shows that in 2023 the rate of property crime in regional NSW was 59% higher than in Sydney and the rate of violent crime in regional NSW was 57% higher than in Sydney. 

Executive Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Jackie Fitzgerald, says "A longstanding feature of crime in NSW is that regional, rural, and remote locations tend to experience higher rates of crime than in the city. The gap has grown over time as crime reductions in Sydney exceeded those in the regions from 2004 to 2023," Jackie says. "Within regional NSW crime is also not evenly distributed and particular regional locations show crime rates much higher than the state average. In 2023, rates of both violent and property crime were almost three times the NSW average in the far west of the state." 

While crime is higher in Regional NSW than in Sydney, it is not the case that crime is necessarily increasing. In Regional NSW most property crimes were considerably lower in 2023 compared to 2004.

The following offences, however, have increased significantly in regional NSW over the five years from 2019 to 2023. 

  • Motor vehicle theft – up 20% or 1,239 additional incidents

  • Domestic assault – up 24% or 3,284 additional incidents

  • Non-domestic assault – up 14% or 1,825 additional incidents

  • Sexual assault – up 47% or 1,505 additional incidents 

In 2023, rates of the following major crimes in Regional NSW were either lower than, or equivalent to, 2019: break and enter dwelling (down 17%), break and enter non-dwelling (down 12%), steal from motor vehicle (down 16%), steal from dwelling (down 27%), steal from person (down 27%), other theft (down 30%), retail theft (stable), sexual touching (down 6%), and robbery (down 5%).

Trends in Major Crime Categories to December 2023, NSW

At the state level, in the five years to December 2023, two of the 13 major offence categories showed a significant upward trend, six showed downward trends, and five were stable. The two offences trending upwards in the five years to December 2023 were: 

  • Domestic violence assault (up 3.6% per year on average)

  • Sexual assault (up 10.1% per year on average) 

In 2023 the following six major offences were significantly lower than in 2019: murder, robbery, break and enter-dwelling, steal from motor vehicle, other stealing offences, and malicious damage to property. 

Further enquiries:  Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director, 0423 139 687  
Email: bcsr@dcj.nsw.gov.au    
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au