NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update March 2023

Recorded Crime Statistics March 2023: Vehicle theft in NSW at highest point in six years

Link to reports summary:

Release Date: Thursday, 15 June 2023

Latest crime statistics released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show that since reaching historic lows in September 2021, motor vehicle theft in NSW has been steadily increasing such that the number of vehicles stolen in March 2023 was higher than in any month since January 2017, increasing 21.3% in the previous two years. 

The increase has been particularly large in parts of regional NSW. In these locations the number of cars stolen in the year to March 2023 is now much higher than five years ago: New England & North West (up 67%), Richmond-Tweed (up 35%), Far West and Orana (up 31%), Mid North Coast (up 21%) and Central West (up 16%). 

Commenting on the findings, BOCSAR Executive Director, Jackie Fitzgerald, said the recent increase in vehicle theft is at least partially a bounce-back from the COVID-driven crime declines of 2020 and 2021 as pandemic restrictions eased. “Another factor however, may be young people being spurred on by social media posts encouraging vehicle thefts on TikTok.” 

Key features of the recent increase in incidents of motor vehicle theft include:

  • In a number of regional NSW locations, vehicle theft is now well above pre-pandemic levels.

  • By contrast, vehicle theft In Greater Sydney has increased, but remains lower than prior to the pandemic

  • Stolen vehicles in regional NSW are more likely to be recovered than in Greater Sydney suggesting they are used for joyriding and transport

  • Young people appear responsible for the increase in vehicle theft in regional NSW

  • Theft patterns vary by vehicle make and year of manufacture. In the year to March 2023:

    • Most frequently stolen vehicles manufactured by Toyota, Holden and Ford

    • Vehicle makes with the highest rate of theft were Holden, Jeep, Land Rover, and Audi

    • Vehicle makes with the largest percentage increase in theft; Kia, Jeep, Isuzu, Land Rover and Volkswagen

Trends in Major Crime Categories up to March 2023

Over the five years to March 2023, two of the 13 major crime categories showed a significant upward trend, eight showed a downward trend and three were stable.

The two offences trending upwards in the five years to March 2023 were:

  • Domestic violence assault (up 3.0% per year on average)

  • Sexual assault (up 6.8% per year on average)

In the two years to March 2023, five of the 13 major crime categories showed a significant upward trend:

  • Domestic violence related assault (up 5.2%)

  • Non-domestic violence related assault (up 13.0%)

  • Break and enter dwelling (up 8.6%)

  • Steal from retail store (up 37.6%)

  • Motor vehicle theft (up 21.3%)

The upward trends in break and enter-dwelling, steal from retail store and motor vehicle theft generally reflect a recovery from COVID-related crime falls and return towards pre-pandemic crime levels.  

/Public Release. View in full here.