NSW crime statistics 2013 and 2014: fraud and drug possession offences on the increase

Friday, August 24, 2018

The dive in violent assaults since lockout laws were introduced has had a knock-on effect for other crime in Kings Cross, with a five-fold increase in the number of people arrested for prostitution.
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The number of people arrested on prostitution offences soared from 44 in 2013 to 259 last year, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s Recorded Crime Statistics 2014 report released on Thursday.

All but 13 people of the arrests were in the Sydney central business district, where laws imposing a 1.30am lockout on drinking venues took effect in February last year.

BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn said the 489 per cent increase was a reflection of increased policing rather than increased activity.

“I don’t think we’re seeing a sudden surge in prostitution,” Dr Weatherburn said.

“What’s happened is that the police have gone into Kings Cross to enforce the new liquor laws and while they’re there in much larger numbers they’ve also gone looking for other breaches of the law.” The latest figures show an overall declining trend for crime in NSW since 2001, with stealing from a dwelling the only major offence that has continued to trend upward. Many of these offences involved items being stolen from garages or driveways outside the home, with items such as hot water systems, bicycles, tools and letterboxes being snatched. 

Other offences that have risen include weapons possession, transport offences and prostitution. But the relatively small increase in theft across the state was a portent of what may come once recreational users of ice start to become dependent, Dr Weatherburn said. “At the moment, even though methamphetamine use is booming it doesn’t seem to be having the kind of effect on property crime that heroin did,” he said. “As the balance changes to more dependent use, that may change.” Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Society president Andrew Woodhouse said police had told residents that they had more resources to deal with matters such as illegal prostitution since the lockout laws. They had also been able to send more staff to Woolloomooloo, where residents have complained about the behaviour of street prostitutes. Prostitution is not illegal in NSW, but soliciting for paid sex is prohibited within view of a dwelling, church, school or hospital, and brothels need to be licensed. “There are some very brazen street workers on the street outside Porky’s [on Darlinghurst Road] wearing practically nothing,” Mr Woodhouse said. “I just looked at this girl and thought, what are you wearing? I couldn’t quite see anything.” Police were unavailable for comment. With the vast majority of prostitution offences occurring in the CBD, the BOCSAR data also demonstrated that certain pockets of NSW were more prone to certain crimes than others and some experienced an increase in offences that were trending downward elsewhere. Parramatta defied a downward trend in sexual assault crimes, with a 32 per cent increase in the number of people arrested on such offences.

People living in Sydney’s north should be most careful to lock down any possessions usually kept in their frontyards, driveways, verandahs and garages, with a 45 per cent increase in thefts from a dwelling in Ryde and a 37.5 per cent increase in North Sydney and Hornsby.

But if you live on the northern beaches, check your credulity. Pittwater experienced a 50 per cent surge in fraud.

Murders and assaults have fallen in the state, but fraud and drug possession offences were on the rise in 2013 and 2014.

 

Fraud rose in 2011 and 2012 but remained steady in the past two years. The total number of fraud offences in 2013 and 2014 was 98,647.

Most of the increases were in the Pittwater local government area which includes Newport and Mona Vale.

Drug possession crimes involving amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and other drugs had the highest increases. The increase in the use of crystal methamphetamines, or ice, has prompted the federal government to launch its National Ice Taskforce to crack down on the drug.

NSW has the highest number of ice users in the country.

The highest increases in thefts in homes were in North Sydney, Lane Cove and Ashfield areas in Sydney while areas such as Young and Cabonne had decreases in thefts.

BOCSAR says most burglaries, which rose 3.2 per cent in the past two years, were from yards, carports, garages, verandahs, driveways and sheds. The most common items stolen were hot water systems, mail, letterboxes, bicycles, scooters, tools and garden accessories.

The far west including Dubbo and Bourke registered the highest increases in most crimes including murders, assaults and breaking and entering.

 

In greater Sydney, the areas with the highest number of crimes were the city and inner south, inner south-west and Parramatta.

Theft from homes in North Sydney and Hornsby was up 37.5 per cent and in Ryde, 45 per cent. Sexual assaults in Parramatta increased by 32 per cent.

 

 

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