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Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, has called on the NSW Government to change young offender laws. Image: file photo

Regional NSW crime rates worse than Sydney

Rodney Stevens


Rates of property and violent crime in regional NSW were more than 50 per-cent higher than in Sydney in 2023, new data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research BOCSAR has revealed.

In regional NSW the rate of property crime in 2023 was 59 per-cent higher than Sydney, while the rate of violent crime was 57 per-cent higher in regional areas.

Despite these seemingly escalating crime rates, although property crime in 2023 was worse in regional areas than in Sydney, over the two decades to 2023, there has been an overall reduction in property crime by 48 per-cent in regional areas, and 67 per-cent in Sydney. 

Just days before the data was released, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan called for the NSW Government to change young offender laws in a letter sent to constituents.

“We are currently experiencing an increase in youth crime in our community,” Mr Hogan said.

“Young offenders can get up to 8 warnings and cautions before they are charged with certain crimes.

“This is too many. They need to be charged earlier.”

Mr Hogan said he had written to Minister for Youth Justice, Jihad Dib calling for an urgent review of young offender laws and regional and rural based youth programs designed to get criminals off the streets, and encouraged concerned locals to email Minister Dib at .

BOCSAR executive director, Jackie Fitzgerald said higher rates of crime in regional areas had been a long-standing issue.

“A longstanding feature of crime in NSW is that regional, rural, and remote locations tend to experience higher rates of crime than in the city,” she said.

“The gap has grown over time as crime reductions in Sydney exceeded those in the regions from 2004 to 2023.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the data reveals that crime isn’t evenly distributed over regional NSW.

“Within regional NSW crime is also not evenly distributed and particular regional locations show crime rates much higher than the state average,” she said.

“In 2023, rates of both violent and property crime were almost three times the NSW average in the far west of the state.”

But some offences have increased significantly in regional NSW in the five years from 2019, with motor vehicle theft up by 20 per-cent or 1,239 incidents, domestic assault up 24 per-cent or 3,284 incidents, non-domestic assault up 14 per-cent or 1,825 incidents, and sexual assault up 47 per-cent or 1,505 incidents.

There were some worrying statistics for the Clarence Valley Local Government Area over the two years to December 2023, with a significant spike of 65.3 per-cent in break-and-enters of non-dwellings, a 36.4 per-cent increase in domestic violence related assaults and a 25.6 per-cent increase in non-domestic violence related assaults, a 33.1 per-cent increase in motor vehicle theft and a 24.7 per-cent jump in instances of malicious damage to property.

During 2023 across the Coffs Clarence Police District there were 1,205 incidents of domestic violence related assault, 452 break-and-enter dwelling incidents, 427 vehicles stolen, 671 incidents of theft from vehicles, and 308 reported sexual assaults.