Police keep a lid on lawbreakers
CRIME is stable across the Richmond and Tweed-Byron local area commands, according to the quarterly update from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
The figures reflected a statewide trend where crime was steady or falling across all 17 major crime categories, though increases were recorded in a number of offences outside the top 17 categories.
These included bail breaches (up 7.2 per cent), failure to appear in court (up 24.6pc) and a number of drug offence categories, including use/possess cocaine (up 76.6pc) and use/possess narcotics (up 11.9pc).
While the Mid-North Coast and Central West and three Sydney areas showed increases in retail theft, the Far North Coast figures remained, on average, steady or were falling across all categories.
The Richmond Valley Local Government Area showed a dramatic fall of 23.8pc in violent offences over the past two years, which bureau deputy director Jackie Fitzgerald said was a big fall.
“Though the thing to note about that is that Richmond Valley previously had a very high rate of violent crime and even with that big reduction, it is still higher than the State average – but heading in the right direction,” she said.
Other anomalies included a 9.3pc annual increase in property crime in Kyogle over five years.
Dr Fitzgerald said that was a significant increase, though it was the result of spikes from several years ago, and she noted that Kyogle continues to have much lower property crime than the State average.
She further explained a dramatic 159.1pc increase in indecent assaults in Ballina (from 22 in 2008/09 to 57 in 2009/10) as the result of having the lowest figures for 10 years in 2008/09, and that the current levels were still on par with State averages.
A 27.2pc increase in break and enters in Lismore over the past two years was skewered by a dramatic spike in April and May this year, and even with those anomalies levels were still ‘very low’. As The Northern Star reported last month, throughout that period the Richmond Local Area Command recorded an exceptionally high clear-up rate of break and enters and robberies.
Bureau director Don Weatherburn further qualified the statistics saying it was difficult to tell whether changes reflected intensified law enforcement, increased crime or both, though the increase in arrests for cocaine and narcotics use and possession was almost certainly indicative of increased cocaine and narcotic consumption.
NSW crime trends for the 24 months to June
• Break and enter non-dwelling – down 15.3pc
• Break and enter dwelling – down 6.0pc
• Malicious damage to property – down 9.7pc
• Steal from motor vehicle – down 9.7pc
• Motor vehicle theft – down 4.9pc