Why we need crime summit

THE release of disturbing crime statistics which show a big jump in assaults and break and enters in the city over the last two years are a catalyst to fast-track a crime summit in Orange, according to Mayor Reg Kidd.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics’ quarterly report shows a 50 per cent increase in assaults, and a 78 per cent increase in break and enters to residences over the last 12 months.

Bureau director Don Weatherburn believes alcohol is related to the assaults in streets and public places and doubts the effectiveness of the city’s CCTV camera system based on the latest statistics.

“It doesn’t seem to be making an impact at this stage.”

He said the big jump in assaults put Orange 70 per cent ahead per population basis of other areas in the state.

The good news on the crime front is that break and enters have fallen since October.

“Statistics show a tracking down each month of 86 compared to 38 in March this year and it seems the city is breaking the back of the problem with break and enters to dwellings,” he said.

However Mr Weatherburn said it was a different story for non-dwelling break-ins.

“There is cold comfort in those figures because they have been tracking steadily up each month and they are now at 14 a month and double what they were in 2007,” he said.

Cr Kidd said there was no easy solution to the statistics but he was concerned at how they reflected on Orange.

He said he spoke to Police Minister Tony Kelly on Wednesday night and is now in the process of picking a date for the summit.

Chairman of Orange City Council’s community safety committee Cr Glenn Taylor thinks police have been doing their best with resources available.

“But we can’t afford to lift the pedal. Maybe it’s time to refocus on certain programs and council are prepared to work with police and give them any help they need,” he said.

All other crime categories in Orange remained stable in the latest statistics released with no falls in any categories.

Canobolas Local Area Commander Superintendent Mark Szalajko said he had not viewed the March quarter statistics and would not comment at this stage.