BOCSAR crime report finds stock theft stable in New South Wales

Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside addressing the media about the state's rural crime prevention team. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS
Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside addressing the media about the state's rural crime prevention team. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

Despite the rate of stock theft being stable for the state, many western NSW towns are more than double the state average according to latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research quarterly report.

BOCSAR released its quarterly update for September 2019 on December 4, with the two year stock theft trend labelled 'stable'.

The Western Magazine have compared the number of stock theft incidents in year to September 2019, to the same period the previous year.

Overall in NSW there were 434 incidents of stock theft for the year to September 2019, at a rate of 5.5 per 100,000 population. This is down from just one incident in 2018.

Rural Crime Coordinator Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside said while it may be concerning that the number of stock theft incidents in NSW has maintained a similar level, he personally sees it as a positive trend.

He believes this could be due to the drought as farmers are more vigilant in checking their stock list and they will be able to account for welfare issues.

"They will be able to account for their numbers more readily," he explained. "Also I believe anecdotally, there is an increased confidence in the police generally in terms of taking this crime very seriously."

While stock theft is constant across the state, there has been a particular increase in reporting of goat theft in the central north area of NSW, Det Insp Whiteside said.

"That's on the back of a great initiative between the local police, Rural Crime Prevention Team working with local communities....," he said.

The BOCSAR report also found no change in the number of stock theft incidents in 2019 when compared to 2018 at both Forbes LGA with two and three at Coonamble LGA.

In the Cobar LGA there was 14 stock theft incidents in the year to September 2019, up from seven the previous year.

Parkes LGA had 10 incidents of stock theft in the year to September 2019, a rise of two, while the LGA of Walgett had 11 incidents, up by six.

There was six stock theft incidents in the Narromine LGA for 2019, a rise of three.

There were seven incidents of stock theft in the Bogan LGA in the year to September 2019, a rise from three for the same period in 2018.

Det Insp Whiteside said stock theft was a low act in the first place, but to do it during drought when farmers are already struggling take sit to a whole different lower level.

"There's a lot of cases when mental health is an issue, people are struggling to make ends meet," he said.

"For someone to come along and take advantage of a situation just shows how low people can go. And the way we can help (farmers) is to continue to let us know and we will do our very best to solve these crimes."

Det Insp Whiteside said rural crime was very much an "opportunist crime", but there was also that organised element to it too.

"I think the vast majority of landholders know we won't solve 100 per cent of these crimes, but we want to ensure we'll take the crimes and their reporting seriously," he said.