LITHGOW has witnessed an increasing number of incidents of sexual assault and other sexual offences during the past year, new data shows.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's latest report shows figures in the local government area for the 12 months to March 2019.
In Lithgow, the number of incidents in nine of the 17 reported crime categories have fallen during the past year, six have risen and two remain the same.
The biggest percentage increase was in the number of indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences, which jumped by 39.1 per cent, from 23 to 32 reported cases.
While sexual assault cases spiked by 35.3 per cent, from 17 to 23 cases.
The wishes of the victim are paramount to police, and we will only investigate if that is what the victim wishes to occur.Chifley Police District Crime Manager Detective Chief Inspector Luke Rankin
Chifley Police District Crime Manager Detective Chief Inspector Luke Rankin said the rise in the rate of reporting for sexual and indecent assault incidents was consistent with rises across NSW.
"This is a form of crime that has been notoriously under-reported in the past," he said.
"In relation to sexual assault incidents the wishes of the victim are paramount to police, and we will only investigate if that is what the victim wishes to occur.
"It is not uncommon for a victim to report a matter to police but also request that the matter not be investigated. At least this is an opportunity for police to facilitate the victim's referral to health and counselling support services."
GRAPH: Story continues below data
Lithgow, however, experienced a major decline in break and enter, and theft categories during the 12 months to March this year.
The most significant drop was in the number of break and enter dwelling cases which fell from 101 to 70 incidents (down 30.7 per cent).
The number of break and enter non-dwelling incidents also experienced a decline, from 44 to 31 (down 29.5 per cent).
Cases of motor vehicle theft, along with steal from motor vehicle, dwelling and person also dropped in the latest reporting period.
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Rankin said overall he was content with the most recent crime statistics for Lithgow.
"Levels of property crime have been trending down and there was a particularly good outcome with regard to break, enter and steal incidents," he said.
"The main strategy we implement in response to property crime is focusing our resources upon those people in the community we suspect either are, or potentially will, commit these offences.
"We aim to proactively engage with these people to either prevent or disrupt their involvement in crime."
There were more cases of malicious damage to property in Lithgow during the past year compared to any other crime category.
During the 12-month period, there were 218 cases, which was down compared to the 245 in the previous year.
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