The Illawarra has bucked the trend of increasing vehicle thefts in NSW - which in March hit a six-year peak - but has seen a significant rise in sexual assault reports.
New data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows that vehicle thefts reached historic lows in September 2021 but have steadily increased since, rising 21.3 per cent in two years.
Regional NSW has been particularly hard-hit and in some parts many more cars are being stolen than five years ago - the New England and North West saw vehicle thefts jump by over 67 per cent in that time.
But in the Illawarra, the number of stolen vehicles fell by 18.6 per cent from April 2018 to March 2023, an average of 5 per cent each year.
However, BOCSAR's latest quarterly report shows the region has seen an increase in other crimes, especially sexual assault.
There were 318 reported sexual assaults in the year April 2022 to March 2023, 50 per cent more than five years prior - an average annual increase of 10.8 per cent.
The average annual increase in sexual assaults over the past two years is almost 36 per cent.
Statewide, sexual assaults are up 6.8 per cent each year on average over the past five years.
Over the past two years, the number of non domestic violence-related assaults has remained relatively stable, but since 2021 there has been an average 14.3 per cent yearly increase, with 1058 recorded in the 12 months to March 2023.
Thefts from retail stores have also jumped in the past two years, rising on average by almost 32 per cent annually.
The numbers of other crimes remained stable over the past two years, but looking at the past five years there has been improvement.
The numbers of robberies, break-ins - both into homes and other buildings - malicious property damage, and other stealing offences have all fallen.
Robberies saw the most significant change, dropping on average 11.5 per cent each year over the past five years.
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