Clarence Valley's crime stats the worst in NSW

THE Clarence Valley has returned some of the worst crime statistics in regional NSW following a 10-year review into offending trends across the state.

Comparing property crime rates in 2002 to 2012, the NSW Bureau of Statistics found that focussing police resources in notorious metro hot spots was improving state-wide statistics but having little impact on regional areas.

In nearly every category, crimes in Clarence were declining at a far slower rate than the rest of the state.

Car theft was up by 5.6% compared to a state average of -69.2%.

Break-ins in the Clarence were the third highest on the North Coast, eclipsed only by Tweed and Coffs Harbour, where the population was significantly larger.

The 489 break-ins reported at shops and buildings other than homes, contributed to a decrease of only -38.6% when the state average was more than -60%.

House break-ins were sitting at -45%, just above the state average of -39%.

More homes and cars were broken into in the Clarence last year than in the similarly sized communities of Lismore and Ballina.

Armed robberies and muggings remained unchanged.

Bureau director Don Weatherburn said the uneven fall in crime rates highlighted a possible weakness in the NSW Government's plan to reduce crime across the state.

He said large reductions in overall crime did not necessarily signal significant improvements in public safety in each area, especially if the reductions only occurred in areas which traditionally reported high levels of crime per head of population.

He recommended the goal of reducing overall crime levels be "balanced" against that of reducing the number of "crime prone communities".

A full copy of the report can be found at http://www.boscar.nsw.gov.au



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