NSW police  Handcuffs arrest. 07 October 2016
NSW police Handcuffs arrest. 07 October 2016 Trevor Veale

Fraud crimes on the rise in Clarence Valley

THE Clarence Valley has seen a sharp spike in fraud crimes in the two years to June, according to the latest crime statistics released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The Coffs Harbour-Grafton statistical area also saw a rise in motor vehicle theft and steal from motor vehicle over the same period.

In the 24 months to June 2018, the Clarence Valley local government area saw a 58.1 per cent increase in fraud crime reported to police.

Of concern to the Coffs/Clarence Police District during the same period was the 24.7 per cent increase in motor vehicle theft and 21.1 per cent increase in steal from motor vehicle in the Coffs Harbour-Grafton region.

There was also a decrease of 16.1 per cent in malicious damage to property in the Clarence Valley LGA.

All other recorded criminal incidents for major offences were recorded as stable.

Coffs/Clarence Police District duty officer Inspector Jo Reid said the majority of the increase in fraud crimes in the Valley was a result of drivers failing to pay fuel stations, as well as stolen credit cards used on tap-and-go.

"Where the Valley is on the highway, we're seeing a number of people stop for fuel then leave without paying," Insp Reid said.

"Police will work with business owners to develop strategies to try and combat this as it's a concern not only for police but for the business owners as well."

On Facebook, Coffs/Clarence Police urge car owners to take precautions to ensure the safety of their cars and the property inside them.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said theft offences are an ongoing concern across regional areas.

"There is more work to do to reduce theft offences, particularly in some regional areas but with more police on the ground in communities across NSW, criminals should be worried," he said.

It was found in NSW overall, all but one of 17 major crime categories were stable or falling within the two year time frame.

Police attribute the 7.3 per cent upward trend in indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences to more victims reporting incidents.

"A number of successful police investigations and a well-publicised Royal Commission into historical offences has had a significant impact on increased reporting," Commissioner Fuller said.