Moree's crime rates are continuing to see dramatic declines, according to the latest crime snapshot of the shire.
The latest quarterly crime figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) revealed that nearly all of the 17 major crime categories recorded a decline in the 12 months to December 2018, following on from positive results in the September 2018 quarterly report.
Robberies saw the biggest drop - robbery with a firearm plummeted by 100 per cent, from three incidents to zero over the 12-month period, robbery with a weapon and not a firearm went down 83 per cent, from 12 incidents to two, and robbery without a weapon declined by half, from 16 incidents to eight.
Indecent assaults also recorded a massive 79 per cent dip, reducing by 30 incidents - from 38 to eight.
The number of sexual assaults also fell by 30, from 47 to 17 incidents (down by 64 per cent).
There were also not as many break-ins to homes or businesses in the 12 months to December 2018, with break and enter non-dwelling down from 219 incidents to 121 (45 per cent), and break and enter dwellings dropped by 164 incidents (from 400 to 236), or 41 per cent.
The rates of domestic violence and non domestic violence-related assaults, motor vehicle theft, stealing from a motor vehicle and malicious damage to property also decreased last year, by at least 14 per cent.
And, while Moree still has some of the highest crime rates in the state for most categories, five of the major crime issues all recorded significant drops over the two years to December 2018.
"The good news is, bearing in mind Moree has some of highest rates for crime in NSW for practically everything, break and enter dropped 41 per cent, break and enter non dwelling 45 per cent, motor vehicle theft dropped 30 per cent, steal from dwelling 34 per cent, and, last but not least, malicious damage 25 per cent," BOCSAR's Dr Don Weatherburn said.
Violent offences overall have decreased by 28 per cent over the past two years, and dropped 10 per cent in the five years to December 2018.
Moree officer-in-charge Inspector Martin Burke said he's seen an ongoing downward trend since about the first quarter of last year, which he believes can be attributed to the success of Operation Claymore - a high visibility police operation established in late 2017 as part of a long-term strategy to focus on traffic, drug, and property crime in Moree.
"Operation Claymore was really good," Inspector Burke said.
"It showed Moree is not forgotten by NSW Police and if we need to mobilise numbers, we will.
"The flow-on resulted in a number of key arrests which have proven to have a significant impact on crime and dismantling key elements of crime in the community."
While most crime categories fell last year, fraud, retail theft and stealing from a person saw increases of 32 per cent, 31 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.
Inspector Burke said a rise in retail theft may be a result of a reporting increase.
"We have from time-to-time run proactive operations around retail theft, a lot of which can go unreported," he said.
"Once we increase awareness, so too do our incidents increase."
Meanwhile, fraud is a broad category which Inspector Burke said can range from stolen credit cards used to tap and go, to failing to pay for petrol.
Fraud offences can also have overlap with other categories, such as stealing and break and enter offences.
"For example, where a wallet is taken and the credit card is used," Inspector Burke said.
"One credit card might be used at three locations, so that'll record three separate fraud incidents, but it's just one offender and one crime offence."
Inspector Burke said the biggest issue police are dealing with at the moment is an increase in malicious damage to businesses and property around town.
"There's been a bit of damage to windows or fences, which we can contribute to young people acting out of boredom," he said.
"We're looking at moving forward and working with local businesses about how they can improve security. We'll continue to work with them and council and getting CCTV together to identify offenders.
"That's our main focus at the moment. The key things is trying to engage these kids seven days a week.
"We do it well during daylight hours, but the big challenge is at night."
Inspector Burke said initiatives and programs such as PCYC Moree running late-night activities on Saturday nights, Miyay Birray's Street Beat program on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and Ephraim House's Friday night program at the Tourist Information Centre are all having positive impacts and giving children a place to go on those nights.
Wednesday nights will also be covered when Moree Local Drug Action Team's Junior Touch Football competition kicks off soon.
Inspector Burke said there are foundations in place, it's now just a matter of refining what they're doing.
"We're trying to divert kids away from committing malicious acts and instead channelling it to more positive activities," he said.
"Our role is to work with service providers to fill some of the voids.
"Good things are happening at the moment, we just need to keep pushing on, particular during night-time hours."