Latest crime stats highlight improvements across Wagga region

TOP COP: Detective Inspector Darren Cloake is "pleased" by the September figures but says there are still areas of concern. Picture: Kieren L. Tilly
TOP COP: Detective Inspector Darren Cloake is "pleased" by the September figures but says there are still areas of concern. Picture: Kieren L. Tilly

Recent police statistics have shown marked improvement across the region but Wagga’s crime supervisor believes further steps can be taken.

The September 2017 quarterly crime update released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research outlined significant decreases in assault, malicious damage to property and theft from motor vehicles in Wagga.

Fraud, theft from dwellings and robberies have also decreased over a 12-month period.

Detective Inspector Darren Cloake said it was pleasing to note the improvements after an “tough” start to the year.

“It was difficult the beginning of the year where we had that spate of break and enters (75 in two weeks) at prime residential and commercial properties,” he said.

“There was a significant drop in crime after that period but we’re seeing time and time again instances where offenders go on a bit of a rampage across a wide area.”

Assault relating to domestic violence was also a key area of improvement with 349 recorded cases between September 2016 and September 2017, an 18 per cent decrease from the previous year.

Detective Inspector Cloake said this was a direct result of increased public awareness campaigns and management programs.

“Campaigns such as White Ribbon Day really go towards reducing the risk of domestic violence and raising awareness,” he said.

HELPING: Public awareness initiative like White Ribbon Day have been linked to reduced instances of domestic violence and assault.

HELPING: Public awareness initiative like White Ribbon Day have been linked to reduced instances of domestic violence and assault.

Increased break and enters remain a concern for Wagga police with 947 cases registered in the past year alone.

Residential properties were particularly at risk and Detective Inspector Cloake said a “devastating” pattern had emerged in recent months.

“We’re finding that offenders are increasingly making good at open garages and gaining internal door access, allowing them to steal car keys and steal belongings,” he said.

“The car is often stolen and credit cards used thereafter … and the car is invariably found in a burned out condition.”

Retail theft has also become a damning statistic – more than one commercial premises experiences theft every day in Wagga – and police are urging vigilance heading into the holiday season.

“I can assure people we’re working extremely hard to ensure community safety but ensuring your own preventative measure will go a long way over the Christmas period,” he said.