The COVID-19 lockdown that affected many parts of NSW for nearly four months this year led to a sharp fall in crime, with the murder rate dropping by 25 per cent to the lowest on record.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found there were 57 murders in the year to September 2021, the lowest number since records began in 1990.

BOSCAR Executive Director Jackie Fitzgerald said the murder rate had been declining over the last 30 years.

“The highest number of murders recorded in a year was 126 in the year to September 1999 – since then reports have declined steadily to the current low,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is hard to say whether the recent low murder count was influenced by the COVID response or not.

“This is an infrequent offence and the numbers do fluctuate. What is clear is that murder in NSW has become less common over the past decades.”

BOSCAR found violent crime had returned to pre-pandemic levels by June, however from July – just after the Greater Sydney lockdown began – violent crimes again declined.

Property offences also fell sharply during the lockdown and were still noticeably lower than pre-pandemic levels in June 2021 and are now at the lowest level on record.

In the 24 months to September 2021, none of the 13 major crime categories was trending upwards, eight were trending downwards and the remaining five were stable.

Non-domestic assaults were down 3.6 per cent, robbery was down 13.6 per cent, break and enters were down by 11 per cent, car theft was down 9.9 per cent, theft in shops was down 10.9 per cent, other stealing offences were down 12.8 per cent and malicious damage has dropped by 6.6 per cent.

Crime fell during NSW COVID lockdown
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