Break and enters on the decline
BANORA Point residents might have guessed that malicious damage crime was on the rise following a spate of graffiti attacks, letterbox thefts and smashed windows.
But now it is official.
The latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show that malicious damage to property in the Tweed-Richmond region rose 6.2 per cent over the past two years.
Break-and-enters of homes decreased by 10.9 per cent in the 24 months ending on March 31, 2009.
But the majority of the 17 major crime categories, including assaults, robbery without a weapon, car theft and stealing, have remained stable.
Across NSW, the only major crime category to rise was fraud, which went up 10.1 per cent, believed to be largely due to petrol theft. In the Tweed-Richmond division, fraud remained stable.
Tweed/Byron Police Crime Manager, Inspector Greg Carey, said most malicious damage offences were committed by young people and spiked during school holidays.
“The majority of those offences would be opportunistic and graffiti damage committed by young people,” Insp Carey said.
“We've had an increase consistent with those figures up to January. It peaked during the Christmas school holiday period. There has been a gradual reduction since Jan- uary, with 174 recorded incidents down to 116 in May,” he said.
Insp Carey named Banora Point and Pottsville as areas with high rates of malicious damage.
Earlier this year the Tweed Daily News reported on a number of Banora Point residents who said malicious damage and anti-social behav- iour by local teens occurred often.
“In Banora Point, the community has concerns about youth-related antisocial behaviour, and at Pottsville,” Insp Carey said. “Our officers are working tirelessly to target those areas.”
He said the drop in residential break-and-enters could be the result of recent arrests.
“We've locked up a number of individuals in 2009 that have been implicated in multiple break-and-enters of dwellings, particularly in the Kingscliff and Tweed Heads areas,” Insp Carey said.
“Since January we've had some significant reductions in break-and-enters.” Insp Carey said people should report all crime to police.
“I hear of incidents where people won't report crime because they are afraid of some sort of retaliation, and I say that is a misnomer. The police need people to actively report crime and I'd like to encourage those victims or witnesses to come forward and make statements to police. We rely heavily on assistance from the public.”