A NEW police unit has been formed to target crime hot spots across southern NSW.
Under the government's commitment in January 2019 to station 100 new high-visibility officers across the state, a new Southern High-Visibility Police Unit formed to prevent, disrupt and respond to crime through patrols of hot spots, roads, transport networks, local neighbourhoods and planned events.
Based in the Illawarra region, the new unit's rollout commenced in January this year, with six officers posted to service eight districts, including Lake Illawarra, Monaro, Murray River, Murrumbidgee, Riverina, South Coast, The Hume and Wollongong.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics reports that the Wagga LGA has higher rates of numerous crimes compared to the rest of the state, with a number of suburbs within the city considered crime hot spots.
Per 100,000 people, Wagga's ratio of assault offences over 2019 stands at 1485.5 compared to the state's figure of 824.5.
For sexual offences, Wagga shows 254.6 incidents per 100,000, while the state recorded 182.
Broken down into suburbs, Ashmont and Tolland are the most crime heavy within the Wagga LGA, according to BOCSAR.
For assault incidents, Ashmont has a ratio of 3958.6 per 100,000 people, while Tolland has 3934.2.
Ashmont recorded 504.3 sexual offences per 100,000 people, with Tolland recording 440.4 and Forest Hill also registering as a hot spot with 495.9.
Southern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Joe Cassar, said that while the unit is based within the Lake Illawarra area, they are available to be deployed across the region at short notice.
"The Southern HVP Unit has the ability to be deployed wherever the demand is," he said.
Assistant Commissioner Cassar said the unit had already assisted in a number of strike force operations across the Southern Region, one of which was Strike Force Detop in Wagga, where officers raided a Turvey Park home, allegedly seizing ice, counterfeit cash, cannabis, electronic devices, a trailbike and prescription medication.
"In the past six months the unit has assisted with dismantling drug syndicates in Wagga, Queanbeyan, Cootamundra, Young and the Illawarra," he said.
"This unit has dramatically improved our ability to respond to emerging crime threats."
The Southern HVP Unit is "intelligence driven", meaning research and investigations play a big role in determining crime hot spots and thus where to deploy the officers.
"If we see a spike in, say, motor vehicle thefts or a particular crime either in the Illawarra region or out regionally, then we have the capability to deploy the unit as a team and saturate the area to bring the crime rate down," Assistant Commissioner Cassar said.
The unit also has a heavy focus on major events, including the Riverina region's annual Deni Ute Muster.
The Southern HVP Unit consists of one sergeant and five constables.