Car-related crime on rise in region

UP IN SMOKE: This torched Kia Rio was among four vehicles set on fire in Griffith on Wednesday morning.
UP IN SMOKE: This torched Kia Rio was among four vehicles set on fire in Griffith on Wednesday morning.

JUST-RELEASED crime figures reveal crooks have motor vehicles in their sights in Griffith.

While the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) data shows an improvement in most major crime categories, from March 2012 to 2014 there has been a 12.9 per cent increase in stolen vehicles and a 24.1 per cent increase in stealing from a motor vehicle.

A number of vehicles were targeted in the city on Wednesday, with a Kia Rio sedan destroyed by fire about 3.30am in Banna Avenue. The heat from the Kia fire caused damage to a 2012 Hino Tipper Truck parked nearby.

A short time later a 2004 Camry and 1998 Nissan Pulsar were destroyed by fire near Benerembah Lane.

Griffith Police crime manager Paul Smith said despite the poor motor vehicle results, overall the figures were positive.

"We need to work with community across our six local government areas to continue in efforts to drive crime down," he said.

"Steal from motor vehicles has been an issue for some time across all our local government areas.

"This has become an easy crime target for criminals netting valuables with little effort or risk.

"You can assist by simply removing those valuables from vehicle and in doing so removing the temptation or reward for the criminal."

Inspector Smith said on a five year basis, stolen vehicles decreased by 9 per cent, while steal from motor vehicles increased by 15.8 per cent.

The only other of the major crime categories to rise was domestic violence with a 6.7 per cent increase.

"Although this is disturbing, the increase in domestic violence, suggests victims are more willing to report this crime," he said.

"This is a whole of community issue and we need to continue to work together on addressing the crime and the impact on the wider community."

Other results included assault (non domestic violence), with a decrease of 9.7 per cent and a 4.9 per cent decrease in malicious damage.

Over the past five years the Griffith LGA recorded increases in a variety of drug offences and a 22.6 per cent increase in incidents of offenders breaching their bail conditions.

Meanwhile offensive conduct fell by 21.1 per cent; liquor offences by 26.8 per cent and resist/hinder police also dropped by 19.9 per cent.

"Although the decrease in assaults is good, it's a serious crime and we need to keep working on strategies to continue down this path," Insp Smith said.

"There are a number of possible reasons for the decrease including council's CCTVs in operation, police working with licensees and community expectations and involvement."

He said the community played a vital part in policing and encouraged people to continue to report crime to police.

All of the torched vehicles were parked and unattended and were extinguished by NSW Fire Brigade on Wednesday morning.

The cause of fire is yet to be determined by NSW Police Forensic Services Group and Detectives.

Police urge anyone with information to contact Griffith Police 6969 4299 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.