The rate of reported sexual assaults has increased in the Hunter outside Newcastle, while property crime has dropped across the region, according to the latest crime data.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has released its quarterly crime figures up to June, 2020, this week, with many categories across the region's local government areas remaining relatively stable.
But the figures showed the rate of sexual assault in the Hunter, excluding Newcastle, increased by 19.7 per cent in the two years to June - compared with 9.4 per cent across the state.
According to the data, there were 359 reports of sexual assault in that region in the 12 months to June, 2020.
Sexual assault increased by 39.2 per cent in the Port Stephens area alone in the two years to June.
"The increase in sexual assault reports in the Port Stephens-Hunter [police district] can be attributed to a range of factors, most of which include increased reporting from members of the public and also increased community confidence to report both recent and historic offences to police," Port Stephens commander Superintendent Chad Gillies said.
Meanwhile, property crime dropped across both Newcastle-Lake Macquarie as well as the Hunter outside Newcastle over the two year period.
Break and enters at dwellings decreased by 14.9 per cent in Newcastle-Lake Macquarie and 13.2 per cent in the remainder of the Hunter.
In Newcastle-Lake Macquarie, thefts from motor vehicles dropped by 21.8 per cent and cases of stealing from homes decreased by 16.8 per cent.
In the Hunter outside Newcastle, thefts from retail stores dropped by 26.4 per cent and robberies of people fell by 40.2 per cent.
Lake Macquarie police commander Superintendent Danny Sullivan said his officers had been trying to break crime cycles at a "grassroots level", particularly steering at-risk teenagers towards "a more positive pathway".
"The Lake Macquarie [police district] has seen falls in several crime categories over the past 24 months, with significant decreases in property offences - including break and enters, stealing and malicious damage," he said.
Newcastle police's acting commander Superintendent Wayne Humphrey his officers conducted highly visible and proactive patrols, targeting repeat offenders when it came to property crime.
"In the recent BOCSAR statistics, stealing from motor vehicle offences in Newcastle [police district] have fallen by almost 25 per cent - with the operations undertaken by our Proactive Crime Team officers and general duties police certainly being a factor in this decline," he said.
"Steal from dwelling offences have also fallen by 16.2 per cent - there would be a range of factors associated with this decrease, including more people staying and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as police conducting 24-7 patrols through several suburbs, utilising our intelligence staff to build real-time crime profiles."
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