Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

​Crime gets more risky

Full report: Trends in NSW Police clear up rates (415Kb)

Release date: 9.00am Tuesday 10 October 2017

Crime clear-up rates have increased substantially across many key offence categories over the last decade in NSW, according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

In 2007, only 16.7 per cent of robberies were cleared (i.e. had resulted in legal action being taken against a suspected offender) within 90 days. By 2016, the 90 day clear-up rate for robbery had risen to 33.1 per cent; a rise of 16.4 percentage points.

There were also substantial increases in clear-up rates for stealing and property crimes as well as domestic assault.  

Between 2007 and 2016, the 90 day clear-up rate for malicious damage to property (vandalism) rose from 11.6 per cent to 19.7 per cent (an 8.1 percentage point increase)

Over the same period, there were significant increases in the 90-day clear-up rates for:

  • domestic violence related assault: up from 58.2 per cent to 64.8 per cent;
  • break and enter (non-dwelling): up from 5.4 to 9.7 per cent;
  • motor vehicle theft: up from 4.5 to 8.3 per cent;
  • break and enter dwelling: up from 4.5 to 7.8 per cent; and
  • steal from a motor vehicle: up from 1.8 to 3.4 per cent.

There was no discernible change in clear up rates for murder or sexual offences.

BOCSAR attributes the increased risk of arrest to a combination of factors including:

  • Improved forensic procedures that enhance the chance of identifying an offender
  • The establishment and growth of the National Criminal Investigation DNA database
  • An increase in the time available to investigate crime (few crimes but similar numbers of police)
  • Increased focus on some offences (e.g. domestic assault).

Commenting on the findings, the Executive Director of the BOCSAR, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that the increase in clear-up rates may be one of the factors behind the fall in serious property crime in NSW over the last 10 years.

“It’s also one of the reasons why the fall in crime has not been associated with a steep fall in the number of people turning up in court.”

“Crime may be down but police are catching more offenders”, he said.

Further Enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02 8346 1100
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au