Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Police cannot defend our streets against crime

CRIMINALS who steal your car, break into your house or rob you run virtually no risk of getting caught.

New figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal that the clear-up rates for crime in NSW are as low as 1 per cent in some areas. Overworked and understaffed police stations are struggling to deal with an overload of crime with just 5.5 per cent of home break-ins solved and an even lower clean-up rates for car theft.

Police are solving only half of all non-domestic assaults, while only a little over 20 per cent of sex crimes lead to an arrest within 90 days.

The rapid decline in sexual assault clear-up rates since the mid-1990s has prompted NSW Police and Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) to launch a study into the cause of the drop.

From 1995, the number of sexual assault clear-ups has more than halved, to 21 per cent of the more than 4000 attacks reported in 2007.

"The declining clear-up rate for sexual assault is a matter of real concern," BOCSAR director Dr Don Weatherburn said.

"There are, however, many things that influence the clear-up rate for sexual assault."

Rape Crisis Centre manager Karen Willis said she was "flabbergasted" and has demanded that the issue of dropping arrest rates for sex offenders be tackled as a priority.

She said there had been substantial law reform, resources and education campaigns for victims to assist them in their fight for justice since the mid-1990s. "Hopefully that would improve the possibility of people reporting in the first place and staying with the (law enforcement) system," she said.

Figures showing arrests for crimes within 90 days of the crime being reported to police in 2007 reveal a dramatic difference in clear-up rates per offence and per suburb. They show:

* 5.5 per cent of home break-ins were cleared;

* COUNTRY areas such as Brewarrina outperformed city areas such as Ashfield and Strathfield, which came in lowest in solving home break-ins; and

* ONLY 5 per cent of motor vehicle thefts were solved.


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