TAMWORTH has seen a drop in nine crime categories, shoplifting rates have halved in Armidale and break-ins have stabilised, but Moree Plains has the biggest problems with crime in the local area.
There are highs and lows for each of our local towns in the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) figures, detailing a comparison of incidents in 17 crime categories from the 12 months to June this year to the previous 12 months.
BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn said the crime hotspot was the Moree Plains local government area.
“There’s no doubt that Moree Plains has by far the biggest problems with crime in the northern part of the state, and it affects every category of crime except fraud,” Dr Weatherburn told The Leader.
“In some categories it’s between two and six times higher than the state average.
“In terms of local government rankings, Moree Plains topped the state for robbery per head of population. For break-and-enter it rates second, second for motor vehicle theft, steal from dwelling and malicious damage.”
In the New England area, shoplifting has more than halved in the Armidale Dumaresq area and police are crediting a crackdown on the streets.
The town recorded a 55.8 per cent drop in stealings from a retail store, down to 61 incidents.
“We have seen a dramatic decrease from our results for this quarter in 2012 to June this year,” Inspector Best said.
“These operations have utilised lost prevention officers working in conjunction with police with some excellent results achieved.”
Break-and-enters to homes in Armidale was on par but hits on businesses nearly doubled, with 112 incidents reported in the 12 months to June 2013.
Inspector Best said the figures don’t show the results of arrests this year.
“There was a significant spike at the end of 2012 and start of 2013,” he said.
“In May 2013, after a series of arrests there has been a significant drop which aren’t reflected in these statistics.
“Several categories have been a focus for Armidale police and we will continue to work on these categories to ensure we drive down crime rates and make the community a safer one.”
Stealings from cars jumped significantly with a 100 per cent spike. Inspector Roger Best said there was a big spike at the start of 2013 but there’s been a number of significant arrests since.
“A small number of people were charged with a number of offences. Police have seen a significant decrease in June, July and August,” he said.
Oxley police saw crime rates down in nine categories including break-and-enters to homes and businesses.
Oxley crime manager Inspector Phil O’Reilly said local police had been honing in on crime tactics.
“The strategies that we’re using are now proving to be successful in driving down crime,” he said.
“We have to continue in order to see reductions in the those offences.”
Inspector O’Reilly said arrests for drug offences have had flow on effects in other crime categories.
“We know that there are links with drug offences and property crime. Because we know that property is stolen to support drug habits,” he said.
Liverpool Plains saw the biggest drop of malicious damage locally, but there’s been an 18.4 per cent drop in incidents in the Tamworth area and working with council has seen some results.
“There has been a number of arrests,” Inspector O’Reilly said.
“There has been some focus on graffiti and the partnership we have with Tamworth Regional Council.”
Dobbing in offenders and crimes has also helped police to get on the front foot.
“The assistance that we are receiving from the community is enabling us to provide a swift response and in some occasions in arrests being made,” Inspector O’Reilly said.
“We look forward to the continued support of community in reporting suspicious activity and crime when it is occurring.”
Walcha, Gunnedah, Guyra, Gwydir and Inverell had no significant rises in rates, while crime was stable in Narrabri, Tenterfield and Uralla.