NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher says petrol companies may have to develop a pay-before-you-pump system to tackle a spike in theft triggered by higher fuel prices.
The latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) figures show theft from motor vehicles has risen 5.4 per cent, which they directly attribute to higher petrol prices.
‘‘People are stealing number plates to avoid detection when they steal petrol,’’ BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn said in a statement.
‘‘If petrol prices start to decline, stealing from a motor vehicle will start going down.’’
Mr Gallacher said despite the financial hardship some families and individuals face, stealing number plates or petrol was a ‘‘pretty low act’’.
He urged petrol companies to investigate pay-before-you-pump technology to crack down on fuel theft.
‘‘This is one crime that can easily be solved by the oil companies stumping up and saying ‘We’re going to come up with a methodology to ensure people do pay for their petrol before they use it (the bowser), but still attract people into the shop’,’’ he told reporters in Sydney.
‘‘At the end of the day they still need to ensure that people pay for their petrol.’’
The BOCSAR June quarter figures also showed the number of assaults in licensed premises continued to fall, while non-domestic assaults fell by 8.2 per cent, and malicious damage to property fell by 5.6 per cent over the period.
The remaining 13 classes of major offences, including shootings, were stable.
But while shootings stabilised, April was the worst month in the past decade for the offence of discharging a firearm into a premises, with 20 drive-by incidents recorded.
Mr Gallacher acknowledged the April spike saying, ‘‘you will get breakouts’’.
However, he was confident police would be able to bring the number of gang-related drive-by shootings under control.
NSW opposition police spokesman Nathan Rees said the crime statistics should be a ‘‘wake-up call for Barry O’Farrell’’.
‘‘The data out today confirms what the people of Sydney already know - we have seen some of the worst shootings in a decade on the O’Farrell government’s watch,’’ Mr Rees said in a statement.
‘‘Instead of taking decisive action to end the nearly 100 shootings in this year alone, Barry O’Farrell’s response has been to cut police numbers.
‘‘There is no excuse for the O’Farrell government standing by and allowing crime in NSW to get worse.’’