Illawarra crime rate steady, new figures show

Crime rates are either falling or stable across the Illawarra in almost all categories assessed in the most recent Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) annual report.

The good news was only tempered by two categories, both from Shellharbour.

During the two years to December 2013, the local government area recorded a 60 per cent increase in stealing from retail stores and a 46 per cent increase in stealing from homes.

By contrast, Shellharbour recorded a 37 per cent decrease in people breaking into businesses.

The council now ranks at number 100 of all state council areas for the offence, well below the state average.

BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn said the increase in theft from retail stores had been affected by a spike just before Christmas, while a similar spike in July had influenced the stealing from homes figure.

In Wollongong, there was a 23 per cent fall in home break and enters, from 1234 offences in 2012 to 977 in 2013.

No crimes increased during the two-year period in the city.

Meanwhile, the Shoalhaven recorded a 19 per cent drop in thefts from motor vehicles and a 16 per cent drop in malicious damage.

Across all other offences, the council area was either in line with or below the state average.

Dr Weatherburn said the decreases were in contrast to much worse Wollongong crime data from 10 years ago.