VIOLENT crime, such as shootings, will escalate across NSW due to cuts in police numbers, the Opposition has warned today.

Opposition leader John Robertson has attacked Premier Barry O'Farrell over new data revealing that an increased risk of arrest is more effective than longer prison sentences in reducing violent crime.  

The independent Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) report released today on the effects of arrest and imprisonment on crime found increasing the risk of arrest and probability of imprisonment is much more effective in cutting violent crime than increasing the length of prison terms.

"A 10 per cent increase in the risk of arrest for violent crime produces a 2.97 per cent reduction in violent crime," Mr Robertson said. 

"The BOCSAR report makes it clear - increasing the likelihood of arrests makes a far greater impact on reducing violent crime than extending prison sentences.

Premier O'Farrell returned fire in the war of words over the increasing numbers of drive-by shootings in Sydney.

After 62 drive-by shootings since he was elected Premier, Mr O'Farrell has announced the crime of consorting with criminals will carry a jail term of up for three years under laws to change the Crimes Act.

Mr O'Farrell said the new offences include: Knowingly benefiting from the activities of a criminal group (maximum jail term five years); directing activity of a criminal group (maximum term 10 years); directing the activities of a criminal enterprise planned and organised (maximum term: 15 years); and firing at a dwelling-house as part of an organised criminal activity (maximum term 16 years).

"The new laws follow discussions with police on what further resources they need to target the criminals engaging in drive-by shootings," Mr O'Farrell said.

"These new laws will be additional tools in the police armoury to help them protect innocent lives and bring those involved in criminal gangs behind drive-by shootings before the courts."



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