Car fires remain a scourge on Wagga, despite the overall stable trend in the city's crime rate.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research released figures showing a downward trend across Wagga in stealing from a motor vehicle by 23.4 per cent and stealing from a dwelling by 19.8 per cent.
In the 2016-17 financial year, there were 83 vehicle fires and the spate of incidents continued on Wednesday morning when two sedans in Bourkelands were set alight.
Detective Chief Inspector Darren Cloake of the Riverina Police District said the trend continues.
“It was and still remains a major issue for Wagga,” Inspector Cloake said.
“Car fires are devastating to the community members for a number of reasons.”
Inspector Cloake said this can be attributed to various police operations and increased community awareness.
“In November 2017, we ran Operation Kingsmen and we targeted young offenders and young adult offenders responsible for a large number of serious offences,” he said.
“It’s also getting the community message out there about the transition from country town values to becoming a larger, more prominent city. It has a byproduct of more criminal activity.”
Inspector Cloake said the crime originates in three specific areas in Wagga where there are higher rates of poverty.
“Ashmont, Tolland and Kooringal are the areas,” he said.
Offences of indecent assault, acts of indecency and other sexual offences have increased in the Wagga Local Government Area.
There have been 30 cases ranging from indecent assault, acts of indecency and other sexual offences from January to August this year. Inspector Cloake said the increase in figures could be attributed to increased reporting.
“There is a general awareness throughout the community and more and more people are willing to report these matters because they know it’s wrong,” he said.
“They have been strong enough to come forward and I encourage more of that, if that is what it means.”
Acting Minister for Police Mark Speakman commended the officers of the Riverina Police District for their ‘exceptional’ work ensuring local crime is kept in check.
Mr Speakman said the most recent quarterly data from BOCSAR showed 15 of the 17 major crime categories as stable or falling in the Wagga LGA is testament to the proactive work of local police.
“In August, eight new probationary constables graduated from the Police Academy in Goulburn and were assigned to the Riverina Police District,” said Mr Speakman.
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