Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

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BOCSAR is often asked whether crime increases over the Christmas and New Year period. In response to these enquiries, we have carried out an analysis of crime statistics for selected offences.  

The graph above shows the average number of criminal incidents recorded by NSW Police occurring on each day and for each time period between 24 December and 2 January. The averages were calculated by considering the number of criminal incidents recorded by the NSW Police as occurring on these dates for five consecutive years from 2013/2014 to 2017/2018.

As can be seen, there is an obvious spike in violent offences on New Year's Eve between 9pm and midnight and early on New Year's Day between midnight and 3am. The number of recorded incidents of violent offences between these times is nine times that of other days in the period. In addition, more than half of the violent offences on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are recorded as occurring in the 6 hours between 9pm on New Year's Eve and 3am on New Year's Day. These spikes are likely due to higher levels of alcohol consumption and social interaction.

In contrast, recorded violent offences are relatively stable around Christmas Day. As can be seen on the graph above, the incidence pattern between Christmas Eve and 30 December remains consistent, including across the various times of day.

The pattern for property offences is similar to that for violent offences. The incidence of property crime is generally steady over the period with the exception of an increase between 6pm on New Year's Eve and 3am on New Year's Day. There is also a small peak on Christmas Eve in the afternoon followed by a slight decrease over Christmas Day.