Author Steve Moffatt and Derek Goh
Published April 2011
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 58
Subject Assault; Crime statistics; Theft / Property crime
Keywords Crime statistics, crime trends, property crime, violent crime

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The aim of this paper is to analyse the trends in the rates of annual recorded incidence of 10 major categories of property and violent crime for the period 1990 to 2010 in New South Wales.


The data presented here are an annual update of the property and violent crime trends reported in Moffatt & Poynton (2006). Kendall's trend test was run on the 21 annual rates1 for each of the 10 major offence categories.


Some categories of crime in NSW are now at the lowest levels they have been for over 20 years. Comparing per capita rates of crime in 2010 with per capita rates in 1990, the Bureau found that the rate of:
• murder is 50 per cent lower
• motor vehicle theft is 70 per cent lower
• break and enter non-dwelling is 62 per cent lower
• break and enter dwelling is 43 per cent lower
• robbery with a weapon not a firearm is 23 per cent lower
• robbery with a firearm is 66 per cent lower; and
• robbery without a weapon is 5 per cent lower.

The falls in these categories of crime, however, have been matched by increases in recorded rates of assault, sexual assault and ‘other’ sexual offences. Compared with 1990 the rate of:
• assault is 86 per cent higher
• sexual assault is 128 per cent higher; and
• other2 sexual offencesis 67 per cent higher.


In the period since 1990, assault and sexual assault rates recorded significant long term upward trends whilst the other eight offences analysed in this report were trending down or stable. The 2010 sexual assault rate was the highest recorded since 1990. Assault has remained stable since 2001 and is now showing signs of a decline. Property crimes have shown the biggest declines since 1990.

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