Most types of crime have fallen across the state over the last two years, but Newcastle and Lake Macquarie appear to be problem areas for crime with an increase.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research have released their quarterly update and according to their statistics, five types of crime have significantly increased including sexual assault, indecent assault, break and enter (non-dwelling), steal from vehicles and malicious damage to property.

Director of the bureau Dr Don Weatherburn says Newcastle and Lake Macquarie differ from most regional areas across the state.

“Five categories of crime have increased in Newcastle and it’s the only place other than Broken hill which showed that many increases in crime. So they were, for example, a 13 per cent increase in sexual assault, 27 per cent increase in indecent assault which are quite remarkable and disappointing results.”

Sexual assault and indecent assault are particularly on the up, with a 13 per cent increase in sexual assault and a 27 per cent increase in indecent acts/assault.

Chief Inspector Dean Olsen says a rise in people reporting incidents has contributed to the higher statistic for Newcastle.

“Traditionally it is a crime that can be under-reported. We want people to have the confidence in the police that they can come forward and report these matters. We regularly, over the last couple of years, have been taking reports of historical complaints of sexual assault and indecent assault.”

He adds in terms of malicious damage offences, in which there was a 19.2 per cent increase across Newcastle according to the statistics, it’s often a case of the same offenders committing large amounts of the same crime.

“We’ve had a couple of evening in the last six months where groups of offenders have committed large amounts of malicious damage offences. One in particular where up to 70 motor vehicles were damaged. Due to assistance from the press and the public and good diligent police work we’ve arrested offenders in relation to that one,” said Chief Inspector Olsen.

While the statistics show a significant number, over the past six years Chief Inspector Olsen says there’s really been a reduction in the vast majority of categories year upon year.

“Statistics are something you can look at a whole range of angles on. We are quite vigilant, as most police commands are across the state. Any opportunity that we can do to implement a tactic or a strategy to bring down crime, we leave no stone unturned that’s for sure.”