Crime-conscious Wollongong commuters are likely to be busier than most across the state as police embark on a campaign aimed at reducing criminal behaviour on public transport.
The "see something, say something" initiative that kicked off on Wednesday encourages commuters to become more active in reporting crime.
According to data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the Wollongong Local Government area often punches above its weight when it comes to anti-social behaviour on trains when compared to the state average.
Vandalism is a significant concern, and from April to May this year, transport police were involved in a major operation with Sydney Trains staff targeting graffiti in the Wollongong area.
BOCSAR statistics show a 160.6 per cent spike in malicious damage to train property incidents compared to the previous year, attributable to increased reporting associated with the operation.
"Police wanted to get a greater picture - if it's happening we wanted to know about it," Superintendent Bernie Ryan, overseer of police operations on the southern and south-west rail lines, said.
"That involved them [Sydney Trains staff] contacting the police assistance line and it saw a dramatic increase in reports over a three-month period ... [and] a dramatic increase in the number of arrests made."
The increased communication with Sydney Trains staff was part of Operation Virtuous, which since December 2012 has targeted malicious damage to public transport.
Two train stabling areas are located in Wollongong, a factor Supt Ryan said contributed to the LGA's high offence rate of 42.3 per 100,000 of population. The NSW rate per 100,000 is 23.5.
During the 2012-13 financial year, Wollongong City Council ratepayers forked out more than $407,000 on graffiti removal.
Other standout BOCSAR statistics for felonies committed on trains included assaults, for which the Wollongong rate per 100,000 of population was close to twice that of the state, and weapons offences, which sat close to three times the state rate.
Wollongong's status as a regional entertainment hub meant the number of people caught boozing on trains or platforms was also high, 12.3 per 100,000 compared to the NSW rate of just 2.4.
But Supt Ryan said people using the South Coast line were still safer than those living in Sydney's southern and south-west suburbs.
He said commuters could do a lot more to help police.
"The one message I want to get out is if there are commuters out there that feel unsafe or witness a crime, to report it through the normal means," Supt Ryan said.
Commuters should call 000 in an emergency and use Crimetstoppers or www1.police.nsw.gov.au/crime_report for less urgent crimes, he said.
Operation Virtuous arrests
January 11, 2013: Four males arrested graffitiing at Waterfall railway station. All were charged with malicious damage, possessing graffiti implements and running on the railway lines.
April 2: Three males arrested for possessing graffiti implements after being found in a vehicle outside Waterfall railway station. The vehicle contained 136 spray paint cans, digital cameras, latex gloves, bolt cutters, Texta pens and wire cutters.
May 23: Execution of search warrant in Camden Park of 28-year-old male in relation to graffiti offences being committed on railway property in the Wollongong area. Extensive amounts of intelligence gathered.
May 23: Arrest of 20-year-old male for graffiti offences that occurred at Thirroul railway station that day. Police seized 24 cans of spray paint, digital cameras, paint can nozzles and mobile phones.
June 30: A 19-year-old male arrested in possession of 15 spray paint cans in the Wollongong area.
July 1: Arrest of 16-year-old male found in possession of spray paint can in act of graffitiing bus stop in Dapto. Further inquiries found additional graffiti on nearby business premises.