Crime rates fell in most of the 17 major crime categories in the 12-months to March in the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command.
Crime rates fell in most of the 17 major crime categories in the 12-months to March in the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command. Trevor Veale

Rise in indecent assaults, but overall crime rates are down

CRIME statistics showing an increase in indecent assaults in the Coffs Clarence have been attributed to historical offences committed against children who as adults have recently reported past crimes to police.

Of 17 major crime categories, indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences had the most obvious increase in the command over the past 12 months to March 2014.

The number of indecent offences rose from 126 in the 12 months to March, last year to 199 offences for the latest 12-month statistical period.

"A large proportion of the increase in indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences has come from an increase in reports by child victims," Don Weatherburn of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research said.

"There have also been increases in the reporting of historical child indecent assaults and from grooming/procuring offences.

"Girls aged 17 years or under comprise 84% of the increase in victim numbers.

"The increase in this offence probably reflects a combination of seasonal effects, indecent assault is more common in the summer months, and heightened media attention being given to the issue of child sexual abuse."

Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson.
Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson. Trevor Veale

OVERALL crime rates have fallen or remained stable across the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command.

There were a total of 7,212 local offences listed in the crime bureau's latest report as opposed to the 7,484 incidents in the 12-months to March, 2013.

Non domestic assaults fell from 875 to 762, break and enter to non-dwellings fell from 468 to 378, but break-ins to homes rose slightly from 701 to 747.

Stealings from homes rose to 604 cases in the Coffs Clarence up from the 468 cases reported in the March 2013 report.

Malicious damage fell from 1937 offences to 1,582 over the past year.

There was a recorded spike in fraud cases -  an increase to 521 offences as opposed to the 415 reported last year.

The increase in fraud is mainly attributable to rises in the police incident categories and deception offences.

Most of these offences relate to the unauthorized use of credit cards, the crime bureau found.   

Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Darren Jameson said police strategies combatting robberies lead to fewer offences.

The total number of robberies, included armed hold-ups, stood at 41 for the current term down from 54 offences a year ago.

"Our crime stats at the moment are quite good pretty much across most of the major crime categories except for steal from dwellings and fraud," Inspt. Jameson said.

"In relation to fraud it doesn't matter how many times we say 'if it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true' people are still falling victim.

"Steal from dwellings are well above our target rates and all of the other categories are very close or just over target.

"We have strategies in place to stop these crime categories rising and we have also been able to bring crime rates down in some areas," he said.  

Crime rates Coffs Clarence 2013 2014
Murder 3 2
Assault Domestic 689 666
Assault Non domestic 875 762
Sexual assault 129 121
Indecent assault 126 199
Robbery no weapon 26 22
Robbery - firearm 7 4
Robbery - other weapon 21 15
Break and enter dwelling 701 747
Break and enter non dwelling 468 378
Motor vehicle theft 294 299
Steal from vehicle 919 934
Steal from retail store 313 267
Steal from dwelling 468 604
Steal from person 93 89
Fraud 415 521
Malicious damage 1937 1582
TOTAL 7484 7212
 


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