Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research


​Crime Hotspots in New South Wales

Did you know that hotspot maps, showing the parts of NSW with the highest density of recorded crimes per square metre, are available in the NSW Crime Mapping Tool. The default map type in the tool is a rate map which shows the rate of crime per resident population across a whole suburb, council or postcode.  Hotspot maps, however, allow you to see down to street level where crime is volumetrically densest per metre.  Unfortunately hotspot maps are only available for certain offences (listed below); when you have chosen an offence for which a hotspot map is available a button titled 'Hotspots' will appear in the top toolbar of the Crime Mapping Tool.   

Example: Mapping car theft hotspots in Newcastle

  • In the 12 months to June 2015, over 15,000 incidents of car theft were recorded by the NSW Police Force. This equates to a rate of 206.1 incidents per 100,000 population.
  • The hotspot map below shows an example of how BOCSAR's hotspot maps can be used to locate areas with the highest density of car theft incidents. The map below shows incidents of car theft recorded by police in the Newcastle Local Government Area (council area) between July 2014 and June 2015. Over this 12 month period 404 incidents of car theft were recorded in Newcastle.  The rate of car theft in Newcastle was 256.9 per 100,000, which is slightly higher than the NSW average (206.1 per 100,000).
  • The map highlights the areas with the highest density of car thefts in Newcastle are:
    • around railway stations;
    • along busy shopping strips;
    • at car parks, including business, residential, beach and sports grounds parking; and
    • in the vicinity of the university campus.
  • The table supports the hotspot map and shows the types of premises where car theft incidents are most likely to occur.  This table shows that in Newcastle and across NSW as a whole the top three locations for car theft were:
    • road/street (50.7% of all motor vehicle thefts in Newcastle and 39.8% in NSW);
    • residential premises (31.9% in Newcastle and 40.8% in NSW); and
    • car parks (7.7% in Newcastle and 9.7% in NSW). 


Download a pdf version of the map 

Download table of motor vehicle theft by premises type

How we build hotspot maps

Hotspot maps are a representation of the density of recorded criminal incidents per square metre across the target area. In this case the target area for the hotspot map was the whole of NSW, zoomed in over the Newcastle area. The hotspot map was calculated using a 50m2 output cell (meaning we divided the target area into a grid of thousands of 50m2 squares) and a 500m search radius (meaning for each cell we looked for assaults occurring both in the cell and in the surrounding 500m). In the hotspot algorithm, incidents closer to the centre of the 500m radius have a higher weighting on the density calculation than those approaching the outer limits of the search area. Every cell is then ranked according to its density score. Here the most dense 30% of cells in the State are displayed in colour on the map. Increasing density is represented by the progression of colours from shades of yellow through to red. It must be noted that incidents do still occur in areas which are not identified as hotspot.

To see the hotspots for motor vehicle theft in your area, visit our crime mapping tool. Hotspot maps are also available for the following offences:

  • Domestic assault;
  • Non-domestic assault;
  • Alcohol related assault;
  • Break and enter dwelling;
  • Break and enter non-dwelling;
  • Malicious damage to property;
  • Robbery;
  • Steal from dwelling;
  • Steal from person; and
  • Steal from motor vehicle.


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Updated 25 November 2015