Property crime flourishing as police focus on suburbs

FOCUSSING police resources on Sydney's troubled suburbs is allowing property crime in Northern NSW to flourish, the Bureau of Statistics has found.

A 10-year review of theft and robbery trends across NSW revealed that while the improved police-to-population ratio in most parts of the state had reduced offending, crime rates were falling far faster in urban areas than they were on the NSW North Coast.

In nearly all property crime categories, including robbery and house break-ins, local government areas between Nambucca and the border all experienced drops well below the NSW average.

Car theft was the biggest problem for the Clarence Valley - up by 5.6% when the rest of the state was recording an average of -69.2%

Sydney statistics showed car theft had decreased to -72%.

People were more likely to be mugged in Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay than any other region of similar size in NSW.

Smaller coastal towns like Nambucca were among the few to experience spikes in nearly every category.

Across Sydney, the rate of break-ins in 2012 had declined by 69.2% while northern statistics ranged between 11.5-32.8%.

Bureau director Don Weatherburn said the uneven fall in crime rates highlighted a possible weakness in the NSW Government's plan to reduce crime across the state.

He said large reductions in overall crime did not necessarily signal significant improvements in public safety in each area, especially if the reductions only occurred in notorious hot spots but not in areas which reported high levels of crime per head of population.

He recommended the goal of reducing overall crime levels be "balanced" against that of reducing the number of "crime prone communities".

A full copy of the report can be found at