ARMED hold-ups and assaults are down but violence behind closed doors remains northern NSW's greatest social sickness, the latest crime statistics have revealed.
Domestic violence cases have sky-rocketed in the past 12 months, up 16.7% on the Mid North Coast and steadily clogging up the court lists from Coffs Harbour to the Queensland border.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics noted in a report this week the rate of domestic violence cases before the courts was alarmingly higher in the northern region than other parts of the state.
While the worst figures on armed robberies came out of Sydney's western suburbs, the bureau found there had been a sharp increase in general property offences across all northern districts.
Robberies without a firearm were up 29.4% on the Mid North Coast while break-and-enters were up 26% and stealing from dwellings up 13.9% in the Northern Rivers.
Court backlogs were a growing problem across the state.
In the Children's Court, there was an 8.3% decrease in outcomes.
More than 100 fewer cases were finalised on the Mid North Coast in 2012 than 2011.
North Coast jurors returned a high number of not-guilty verdicts.
Of the 42 cases which proceeded to trial at the Lismore District Court, 22 accused offenders were acquitted of all charges.
Two cases were dismissed due to mental illness.
A spike in fraud offences was recorded in all NSW courts.
Commenting on the trends, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn said that the increase mainly involves business/commercial premises and especially service stations and supermarket service stations.
Together, these two types of fraud accounted for 34.7% of all reported fraud offences in 2012 and 39.8% of the increase.