By CRAIG McTEAR
MID North Coast residents can sleep a little easier tonight ? there's some good news on the crime front.
Figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show crime is down in most categories in the region.
Comparing the year ended June 30, 2005, with the 12 months to June 30, 2004, motor vehicle theft was down 17.7 per cent, thefts from houses decreased by 14.9 per cent and shoplifting dropped 14.4 per cent.
Other reductions were recorded for assaults (3442 to 3308) indecent assault (315 to 300), robbery without a weapon (67 to 66), break and enters into dwellings (2188 to 1981), those not involving dwellings (1918 to 1842), stealing from motor vehicles (2168 to 1945), stealing from person (222 to 212) and malicious damage to property (4773 to 4684).
However, there were increased incidents of sexual assault (203 to 262), robbery with a firearm (three to eight), robbery with a weapon other than a firearm (30 to 45) and fraud (801 to 821).
In a report earlier this year, the bureau said the downward trend in property crime had been influenced by several factors, including:
a fall in heroin consumption,
a rise in average weekly earnings,
a rise in the number of heroin users returning to methadone maintenance treatment,
greater use of imprisonment by NSW courts for burglary offenders, and
possibly, a fall in long-term unemployment among young men.
Coffs/Clarence police continue to work with the community in trying to drive down crime, and are undertaking a survey among local residents about their perceptions of crime.
Regular police blitzes on anti-social behaviour and street crime, code-named Operation Vikings, are part of their array of crime-fighting arsenal.
Officers are urging business people and residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity in the area to their nearest police station.