Murder rates in Inverell are 7.3 times above the NSW state average, the latest round of Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures indicate.
Such figures can make a small country town seem unsafe but NSW Police Acting Inspector Ross Chilcott describes Inverell as “a very safe community”.
Acting Insp Chilcott, who’s been based in the local district since 2004, says the town’s most recent murder was in October 2015.
“The only reason the murder rate would seem high in Inverell is because we live in a small population and there’s been one incident in the past two years,” he said.
Acting Insp Chilcott says Inverell has lower rates of crime than the New England region’s other major centres.
“Domestic violence is an ongoing issue for all towns and suburbs and the police are taking steps to reduce it’s incidence,” he said.
“Inverell’s sexual assault rates have remained low.
“Break and enters are relatively low but we do have periods where there is a spike usually associated with people passing through the town rather than local residents.”
Drawing on his local experience, Acting Insp Chilcott says there is a relatively low incidence of serious crime and about a standard rate of minor crimes.
New England crime stats
None of the major crime categories have increased in NSW over the last two years. In the 24 months to March 2017, four of the 17 major offences were trending downward and the remaining 13 were stable.
Trending offences were robbery with a weapon not a firearm (down 10.9 percent); break and enter into dwelling (down 5.9 percent); stealing from a person (15.2 percent); and fraud (down 4.3 percent). However, parts of the Hunter and Western NSW have experienced significant increases in particular crimes over the two year period to March 2017.
The New England and North West have experienced significant increases in three of the 17 major offences: non-domestic assault (up 4.1 percent), break and enter - dwelling (up 16.2 percent) and stealing from dwellings (up 20.8 percent).
Commenting on the results the Deputy Director of the Bureau, Jackie Fitzgerald, said that while it was reassuring that no major offences were trending upwards at the State level it should not be overlooked that some pockets of NSW were experiencing crime problems. “The growth in crimes in the West and North West of NSW is particularly concerning because the crime rates in these areas are already more than twice, and in some cases more than three times the State average.”