Area?s crime rate drops

By ADAM HICKS

YOU are now less likely to be assaulted or burgled on the Northern Rivers than one year ago, according to the latest crime statistics.

Figures released this week by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show crime rates have dropped across Richmond and TweedByron police commands over the past year.

The number of assaults, domestic and commercial break and enters and thefts from cars all reduced dramatically, while figures of other crimes stayed stable.

The bureau's statistical services manager Jackie Fitzgerald said there was no significant increase in any crimes in our region.

Ms Fitzgerald said the bureau had not established the exact cause of the drop but said it could be explained by positive economic conditions, strong policing and a drug drought.

"We have seen decreases in the proportion of crime for the past few years," she said.

She said the start of the decline coincided with a heroin shortage.

"We've also been looking at other contributing factors ... like the economic conditions. We are seeing low levels of unemployment, especially among young males, and high levels of disposable income. If the average income is higher there is less desire to offend.

"The other factor could be policing, smarter, more targeted campaigns could also be playing a part.

"I wouldn't suggest any one factor in isolation."

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Scott Bingham said the figures show the positive results of focused policing.

"The statistics were impacted on by our current strategies of high-visibility policing and targeting problem areas," he said.

"We have been targeting break and enters with increased patrols and utilising our crime prevention officer."



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