THERE are always positives and negatives to be taken from quarterly crime reports, but local law enforcement is assuring the community it is aware of the serious issues.
Speaking to the Chronicle on Thursday, Hunter Valley Police District Commander Superintendent Chad Gillies explained there were a number of standouts from the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) release, including a 70 per cent increase in fraud.
Failure to pay offences made up approximately 40 per cent of that category, with much of that being put down to people not paying at service stations.
He said that had jumped significantly in correlation to a rise in diesel prices, and people using stolen number plates to steal fuel was also an issue they were looking heavily into.
Online scams are also contributing to the bloated figure, with the residence of the victim being counted if the location of the schemer themselves cannot be identified.
"We find now that cyber-crime and online scams targeting the vulnerable people, such as the elderly in particular, can be an issue," he said.
Tap and go offences with stolen credit and debit cards has also caused fraud to spike, with each separate purchase counting as another case.
Superintendent Gillies linked a number of these issues to "steal from motor vehicle" offences, which often include number plates and wallets.
He provided tips to help people avoid becoming a victim in that category, too.
"If residents don't leave items in their car, and also secure their car, the chances of them becoming victims are reduced greatly," he revealed.
"People also parking in their driveways or in their front yard, for example, still run the risk of having their property stolen.
"So, personal security and personal responsibility is the message we're trying to get out to the community."
Superintendent Gillies did, however, say that stealing from retail stores (up 23.4 per cent) and dwellings (up 10.2 per cent) were a concern for them, although he said the latter was largely due to an increase in people stealing bins.
They have several theories on why this has been the case, including people taking them to capitalise on the Return and Earn program, and encouraged locals to not leave their bins out too long.
There were some positive statistics for the town in the latest report, with property offences dropping 4.8 per cent and motor vehicle theft down by 16.5 per cent.
Violent crime has also remained steady or decreased in certain areas, which is a big tick in the eyes of the Superintendent.
He also said increased reporting of crime can often correlate with a rise in confidence towards the police, and they're pleased people feel comfortable coming to them.