Fraud and theft on rise in Bathurst, but major crime categories falling

FRAUD and theft are emerging as the crimes most likely to affect people living in Bathurst.

An elderly woman manipulated by a scammer, who would have lost thousands if the scam had not been detected, was one of the latest examples.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has released its latest figures, which show that while the major crime categories have all fallen in Bathurst, fraud and theft, particularly from cars, has increased.

Chifley Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Chief Inspector Luke Rankin, said police were satisfied overall with the crime statistics for the city.  

“Most crime categories are either stable or showing modest falls,” he said.

“While there have been spikes of certain crimes throughout the year, we have demonstrated that we are effective in responding to those and deploying our resources where and when they are needed.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rankin said the fraud spike was due to ever-increasing reports of payWave or point-of-sale incidents and internet scams. 

“Unfortunately, we continue to see members of our community falling victim to scams perpetrated through the internet – for instance, people responding to phishing emails and paying bogus fines or invoices,” he said.

Phishing emails try to trick the recipient into giving passwords, credit card details or other sensitive information.

Detective Chief Inspector Rankin said police had recently been notified about “an elderly woman in Bathurst who had been contacted by a scammer and had gone to several shops, purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of iTunes cards under the instruction of the scammer”. 

“Thankfully, one of the merchants realised what was happening and alerted the victim that it was a scam and police were informed,” he said.

“Had this not happened, the victim would have lost thousands of dollars. I highly recommend people have a look at the ACCC [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] Scamwatch website and get informed as to how online crooks – inevitably based overseas - are trying to get your money.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rankin said the city endures spates of particular offences.

“Across our command for January 2017, we had 65 reports of thefts from motor vehicles; then in February we had 22. A handful of motivated offenders can have a huge negative impact on our crime statistics month-to-month.  

“We closely analyse crime reports and other intelligence and this informs the taskings for our police - whether that is patrols in hotspots to seek to deter crimes from occurring or chasing all possible leads to build a case upon persons involved in crime.”

Among the major crime categories to fall in the latest statistics were murder, domestic violence-related assault and break and enter.