NSW Records Historic Low Crime Rates
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The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (‘NSW BOCSAR’) is a statistical and research agency within the NSW Department of Community and Justice. BOCSAR maintains data bases, conducts research, monitors trends and provides information on crime in NSW. BOCSAR records commenced 27 years ago in 1995.
Every quarter, BOCSAR releases an update, presenting data on crime reported to, or detected by, the NSW Police Force.
On 17 March 2022, NSW BOCSAR released their most recent quarterly update, providing information on the trends of crime up to December 2021.
Significantly, this data shows that at December 2021, many types of crime were at their lowest level since BOCSAR crime records commenced. This included offences of murder, robbery, burglary, car theft, stealing offences and malicious damage to property.
BOCSAR attributes this historic low to major decreases of crime during both COVID-19 lockdowns, as well as previous long-term declines.
Property offences, such as theft and break and enter, fell sharply during periods of lockdown in early 2020 and late 2021. While the easing of restrictions has seen a slight rise in the occurrence of these offences, these crimes remain below pre-pandemic levels. In the year to December 2019, 13,440 property and theft offences were recorded. At December 2021, 10,316 offences were recorded.
Violent offences such as murder, non-domestic assault, sexual assault and robbery temporarily dropped during periods of lockdown. However, with the easing of restrictions following both periods of lockdown, these offences returned to close to the pre-pandemic levels.
The Executive Director of BOCSAR, Jackie Fitzgerald, said it was unsurprising that the huge social upheaval cause by the lockdowns had a flow on effect to criminal activity.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for those offences that remained low in December 2021, to return to pre pandemic levels as NSW residents resume regular activities.