Southern Highlands crime rates show overall decrease

BOCSAR STATS: Latest stats prove Southern Highlands "is a safe place to live, work and visit." Photo: file.
BOCSAR STATS: Latest stats prove Southern Highlands "is a safe place to live, work and visit." Photo: file.

Stealing from a retail store is on the decline but domestic violence incidents are on the rise, according to the latest quarterly data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

Southern Highlands crime figures are down in eight of 16 recorded categories in the 24 months to June 2017, while crime has risen in seven of the categories. 

The biggest downward trend was in stealing from a retail store which is down 40.4 per cent, falling from 94 to 56. 

Hume LAC crime manager Detective Inspector Chad Gillies said he was pleased to see that stealing from a retail store in particular had decreased. 

“We are always working with local businesses and the latest figures support the fact that we are on the right track with our strategy,” he said. 

However, Det, Insp. Gillies said he believed theft from retail stores was under-reported. 

“It is especially the case for larger businesses like supermarkets but we are conscious of this and we are working with them,” he said. 

“Theft has a major impact on smaller business’ bottom line and we are working to improve this.”

Domestic violence increased over the 24 month period, rising by 15 per cent from 120 incidents to 138, but Detective Inspector Gillies said it was encouraging that people had greater confidence to come forward and report domestic violence incidents. 

“We largely attribute this to greater community awareness and it proves that the government’s approach to combatting this issue is working,” he said. 

“We have put a lot of time and effort into training our staff around this issue and we have the enhanced ability to respond and investigate domestic violence.”

There was a significant drop of 39 per cent in the number of indecent assaults, acts of indecency and other sexual offences, down from 61 to 37.

Motor vehicle theft has decreased in the Highlands falling from 47 incidents to 40 incidents. 

The biggest increase of 27 per cent was in break and enter- non dwelling, from 65 to 83 incidents. 

Non-domestic violence related assault rose by 13.7 per cent from 102 to 116 incidents. 

Stealing from dwelling rose from 119 to 136 while fraud incidents increased from 158 incidents to 169. 

Sexual assault was down by six from 25 to 19 and robbery with a weapon fell to zero from two, while malicious damage to property fell from 349 incidents to 346. 

Again there were no cases of murder this quarter.

Overall, Det Insp. Gillies said it was pleasing to see crime was on the decline overall. 

“We have a strong focus on proactive policing and targeting areas that experience crime as it occurs,” he said. 

“The figures underline the fact the Southern Highlands is a safe place to work, live and visit.”