It’s been 13 years since Deniliquin and district was recognised as the ‘safest town in NSW’ based on state crime statistics.
While the latest statistics show our crime levels have increased since then — including in the most talked about category of the time, robbery — in most cases our crime statistics are in the bottom 40 across the state.
Crime in the Edward River Council area has dropped in eight of the 17 major crime categories and remained stable in two, with both murder and robbery with a firearm remaining at zero.
In the crime areas that did not see an improvement, most increases were by only four incidences or less.
Edward River Council Mayor Norm Brennan said while the district’s crime statistics are not as low as reported in August 2005 — which resulted in national coverage of Deniliquin as the ‘‘state’s safest place to live’’ — he said comparatively the local area was still one of the safest places to be.
‘‘Holistically, I could not be happier with the results and I think we are still a very safe town,’’ Cr Brennan said.
‘‘I have just spent Christmas in Melbourne — where I lived for 40 years before coming to the local area — and I must say I don’t feel the same level of comfort as I do in Deniliquin and district.
‘‘I think when you look at the overall figures and trends, we should be pleased with the areas that are showing a decrease.
‘‘At regional district meetings the council attends regularly, police are telling us they are concentrating on certain areas and getting results.
‘‘It’s great to see a fair number of crime statistics have been reduced or remained at zero, and on the other side of the coin those which have increased have been by a minimal amount.
‘‘One thing I can say I am very pleased with is the physical presence of police in our community. It might be hard to say what impact it is having in tangible terms, but it’s certainly very reassuring.’’
When Deniliquin was referred to as the safest town in Australia in 2005, a big part of the praise was that there were no robberies in the Deniliquin region.
In the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report there were increases in two of the three robbery categories — robbery without a weapon (zero to one) and robbery with a weapon other than a firearm (zero to one).
Other crime figures highlighted at the time were a reduction in break and enters of dwellings from 76 in 2000 to just 22 in 2004 and a reduction in break and enter of a nondwelling from 85 to 28 in the same period.
In the latest report break and enter of a dwelling was at a similar level with 29 cases reported. It was a reduction of seven from the previous 12 months.
While break and enter of a non-dwelling was lower this year compared to 2005, the 22 incidents recorded in the latest report was an increase by three from the pervious 12 months.
The biggest improvement in the Edward River Council area was is in the number of steal from a dwelling, which dropped by 19 between 2017 and 2018 — from 48 to 29.
Also decreasing by seven in 2018 was the number of indecent assaults or sexual offences, with 11 recorded in the 2018 report.
Other reductions were recorded in domestic violence related assaults (from 47 to 43), sexual assaults (16 to 13), motor vehicle theft (seven to six), steal from a retail store (21 to 19), and steal from a person (two to one).
The most significant increase in the Edward River Council area was a jump of eight in the number of fraud incidents, from 24 to 32.
All other increases we by four or less incidents, including non-domestic violence assault (from 34 to 37), steal from motor vehicle (24 to 32) and malicious damage (105 to 106).
Local police were unable to comment on the statistics.