Glen Innes domestic violence has halved since 2016

Domestic violence has halved since 2016

Glen Innes' domestic assaults have more than halved since the 2016 peak, with just 48 domestic assaults over the last year.

The New England region was the only area in NSW to enjoy an overall decreased violent crime rate over the last year to March.

Our region has also bucked NSW's uptick in a murder rate, and was the only area with zero murders or armed robberies to March 2019. Nobody was murdered in the far west of NSW either.

In 2016 Glen Innes was shocked by a sudden spike in domestic violence rates to third in the state. In the latest figures to March, the rate has dropped from 3.1 times to just 1.4 times the average NSW rate, well below Walgett with 6.3 times and Coonamble with 5.2 times the average.

And the total number of offences has dropped from 106 to just 48.

Inspector Matt Hemsworth arrived in Glen Innes in 2017. In an interview today he said domestic violence has been his main priority ever since.

"I started to examine why that figure was so high and I soon identified that we had a lot of repeat incidents of domestic violence within families - within a small group of families I guess you could say," he said.

"And that's where I concentrated the efforts of police, because I knew if I could get into those families that would make a difference to those families and then on to the statistics."

There might have been 106 domestic assault offences, committed by just a dozen or so people. So you could efficiently knock down the rate by keeping an eye on that relatively small group.

"We did that by ensuring that when we did have an opportunity to take action by way of apprehended domestic violence orders or charging that we did.

"And we followed up with families, and when they weren't reporting crime we still went and visited them, say on a Friday night when we usually have those sort of incidents with families and make sure everyone was safe.

"That's where the biggest difference was made."

He commended the local pubs and clubs for their "outstanding" attitude towards responsible service of alcohol.

He said the town has dropped from third to above twenty. Fifty fewer assaults means far less misery, he said.

"That's a huge impact on families, on children, it's impact on the community, and families are functioning. You have children going to school, you have people being more happy, people are employed.

"The individual impact on the lives of victims, they're happier and safer and can live knowing that they're not going to be assaulted by their partners."

He said the rank and file police working in Glen Innes deserve credit for the success.

But in a shocking statistic, most violence in the New England happens at home, with 1,230 domestic assaults compared to 1,071 common non domestic assaults over the last 12 months.

Inspector Matt Hemsworth.

Inspector Matt Hemsworth.

In new statistics published by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics yesterday NSW recorded a 39.6 per cent increase in murders over the last 24 months, with 74 people murdered in the year to March.

Other violent crimes are also up statewide, with assault up 6 per cent, sexual offences up 5.8 per cent and an 8.4 per cent increase in prosecutions for possession of amphetamines like ice.

New England registered the only regional drop of the violent crime rate, with a drop of 3.1 per cent. Property crime is stable.

On the other hand, our region retains a relatively elevated crime rate, with 1.6 times as many violent offences and 1.4 times as many property offences as average.

Our 'New England and North West' statistical area covers Tamworth to the border, as well as Moree and Narrabri.

Glen Innes has recently reported declining property crime rates in recent updates to December and to September last year. The March statistics also reflect an overall drop.

Armidale regional council registered a dramatic increase in sexual offences over the 24 months to March, with a near doubling of indecent assaults and a 51.6 per cent increase in sexual assaults.

Tenterfield registered a 45.9 per cent increase in domestic violence related assaults, with a 64 per cent increase in break and entry offences.