The good news for those of us who live and work on the mid-north Coast is that crime is declining. Here’s an in depth look at the latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) is a government-funded agency within the Department of Communities and Justice. It was established in 1969 and so has a good bank of data on crime trends across New South Wales. Its research is interesting, not just for lawyers or police officers, journalists or those with an interest in social justice.
If you’re moving to a new suburb in New South Wales you can take a look at the types of offences that are most common in the area. Pretty cool, huh? The website is easy to get around – not just boring old numbers, there are interactive maps and tables which make the data easy to understand.
Why do we need crime stats?
The main aims of BOCSAR are to:
- identify factors that affect the distribution and frequency of crime;
- identify factors that affect the effectiveness, efficiency or equity of the NSW criminal justice system;
- ensure that information on these factors and on crime and justice trends is available and accessible to our clients.
By meeting these objectives BOCSAR can inform policy makers and administrators in the criminal justice system to develop and implement strategies which help to reduce crime, and provide a more efficient, effective and equitable justice system.
Crime trends on the Mid-North Coast of NSW
BOCSAR presents a number of reports on a regular basis, but for this article we looked at long term crime trends from the geographical area Coffs Harbour to Grafton, across a number of criminal offences.
Over a five year period (2017-2018 to 2021-2022) the statistics show that the nature of crimes is increasing for some offences; while there’s a decreasing trend for other offences.
|Domestic Violence Related Assault
|Non-Domestic Violence Related Assault
|Sexual touching, sexual act, other sex offences
|Motor Vehicle Theft
|Stealing from a motor Vehicle
|Break and Enter – Non-Dwelling
|Stealing from a Retail Store
|Other Stealing Offences
|Malicious Damage to Property
The snapshot of our little corner of New South Wales mirrors the data for the state overall.
Many crimes are declining
Crime numbers have been fairly stable over the past five years. Criminal offences such as break and enter, robbery, and car theft are in decline. This trend has been attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, which put a stop to a lot of crime – because of lockdowns, travel limitations, curfews and a heavy police presence in public, enforcing pandemic health regulations.
However, the data also shows that Domestic Violence assaults have increased by 11% over the five-year period, and reports of Sexual Assault have also increased 14% over the same period.
We know that lockdowns-related travel limitations had an adverse effect on Domestic Violence offences and this is reflected in the numbers too.
Sexual assault offences are also on the rise, and while this could be the result of an increase in these offences, it could also be a result of more victims feel comfortable speaking up and reporting incidents.
This could be because the wider community conversation is encouraging them to do so, whereas even a decade or so ago Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault were not often talked about, leaving victims feeling ashamed, powerless and left to suffer in silence behind closed doors.
This post is informative only. It is not legal advice.
If you have a specific legal matter you’d like to discuss, please contact us.