Shoalhaven property offences plunge over past 12 years
WHILE most categories of property crime in the Shoalhaven have declined markedly over the past decade, shoplifting has increased by 50.8 per cent.
A 12-year snapshot of changes in property crime rates compiled by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows reductions of up to more than 50 per cent in six out of seven categories.
The glaring exception was in the steal from retail shop category. In 2000, there were 178 incidents; in 2012 there were 307 – an increase of 50.8 per cent.
The break and enter dwelling/non-dwelling category saw the biggest reduction over the 12-year period.
In 2000, there were 1672 incidents; in 2012, there 904 – a decrease of 52.7 per cent.
The robbery category saw the next highest decline.
In 2000, there were 45 incidents; in 2012, there were 30 – a decrease of 41.7 per cent.
This was followed by the steal from dwelling, which saw 496 incidents in 2000 and 350 in 2012 – a drop of 38.3 per cent.
Motor vehicle theft declined by 35.3 per cent with 331 incidents in 2000 and 245 in 2012.
Steal from motor vehicle saw a 24.6 per cent drop – with 826 incidents in 2000 and 712 in 2012.
Shoalhaven Police Local Area Commander Superintendent Joe Cassar welcomed the figures and said the apparent growth in retail theft should be seen in context.
“The two areas we didn’t meet targets were in retail theft and fraud,” Mr Cassar said.
“The increase in fraud was due to computer fraud, which is extremely difficult to police.
“With retail theft we have run proactive operations with larger department stores, which have their loss prevention managers, who report theft to us.
“Although the frequency is up we have a higher arrest rate and if your prosecutions are up that is a good thing.”
He said stricter observance of workplace health and safety was keeping more police on the street.
“Work related injuries have never been so low,” he said.
Perhaps the most effective tool in bringing property crime down was the improvement in turnaround times for fingerprint and DNA identification.
“It used to take months to turn around, now it’s within weeks.”
Supt Cassar said support from members of the community also helped to drive down crime.
“We encourage them to report crime. An example was the arrest of Joshua Duke.
“We had overwhelming public support which helped us enormously,” he said.