The rate of cocaine possession in NSW has jumped by more than 40 per cent over two years, mostly driven by busts in inner Sydney and its eastern suburbs, new crime statistics show.
The latest quarterly report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), released on Thursday, shows major offences such as murder, domestic violence and robbery all decreased with the exception of shoplifting.
However, the report also showed cocaine possession increased by 41.2 per cent on average and BOCSAR executive director Dr Don Weatherburn said Sydney’s inner city and eastern suburbs were responsible for about 60 per cent of the increase.
“It’s been steadily climbing,” he said on Thursday.
Dr Weatherburn said generally speaking there was a close relationship between arrests for cocaine possession and emergency department admissions linked to the drug.
I think it would be a fair thing to say that it reflects, at least in part, a real increase in cocaine consumption.”
The July-September report also revealed alarming increases in the rate of sexual assaults in Sutherland (56 per cent), Parramatta (24 per cent) and the inner southwest (29 per cent).
BOCSAR records these figures based on when they are reported to police rather than the offence date, so this may include historical offences.
Firearm offences, domestic violence down
The major offence of robbery with a firearm decreased by 18 per cent over the two years to September, while there was a 13 per cent drop in robbery without a weapon.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller also welcomed a three per cent decline in the number of domestic violence offences.
“For a long time, modern law enforcement has focused just on victims of domestic violence, which is entirely appropriate, but the perpetrators are the ones who need to be held to account,” Mr Fuller said in a statement.
Meanwhile, he attributed the increase in cocaine offences to “proactive work” being done by police.
Dr Weatherburn said there was no doubt overall levels of crime were markedly down on those in 2000.
“That’s not much help for people who happen to be living in areas where the reverse is happening,” he said.
“Of course things are better on the whole, but we do have a problem with methamphetamine use, we do have a problem with cocaine use and we do have a problem with robbery and sexual assault in some areas.”