ORANGE’S assault rate is the ninth highest in NSW according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
Last year Orange ranked number 10 and in 2010 Orange was the 20th most violent local government area.
The calculation was based on the number of assaults per 1000 people to even out any discrepancies between areas of higher population density.
A bureau spokesperson said it was the only way to compare rural and urban areas fairly.
“By doing it this way you can compare apples with apples,” the spokesperson said.
“It adjusts for the number of people living in that area.”
Orange City Council crime prevention committee spokesman Glenn Taylor said he was concerned about the figures because they did not take into account visitors to the area or short-term residents.
Based on information from previous years, he said, criminals tended to be transient and would commit crime as they moved from town to town.
“We’re on the front foot with this, the mayor, the general manager and myself met this morning [yesterday] about this to discuss getting more support for our youth programs,” he said.
“We’re certainly not going to be sitting on our hands.”
Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said the most common demographic for assaults was still men aged between 18-25.
In 2010 there was 339 assaults in Orange, in 2011 there was 390 and last year there was 394.
In 2009 Orange was ranked seventh with 404 assaults.
“A change in 50 cases moves the position of the local government area 10 places ... whilst ever we have issues surrounding alcohol-related crime it’s going to force upward pressure on assaults,” Superintendent Driver said.
“The police are just one very important prong in the fork and we need the support of the community and licensees and other stakeholders in respect to addressing assaults.”
Local government areas with less than 3000 people were excluded from the data because those areas were very sensitive to small changes in population size and number of incidents.
Superintendent Driver said people should be careful in the way they interpreted the statistics.
“When you look at the raw numbers they haven’t changed all that much,” Superintendent Driver said. “BOSCAR [NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research] records all of the reported cases. In some areas incidents are reported more often [and] there are certain elements of the community who don’t report incidents.”
In the 12 months to September 2012 there were 40 cases of sexual assault, 163 motor vehicles stolen, and 145 cases of stealing from dwellings in Orange.