Criminals in New South Wales are increasingly working business hours, breaking into homes, stealing cars and committing thousands of assaults from 9am-5pm.

While their victims were on the job, criminals undertook 25,818 break and enters and stole from more than 18,000 cars, according to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures from October 2010 until September 2011.

The peak time for a non-alcohol related assault was between 9am and 5pm, with almost 23,000 incidences reported to police. Officers also reported more than 34,000 cases of malicious damage to property when residents were at work.

Australian Institute of Criminology research director Dr Rick Brown said the figures fitted in with what he knew about this types of crime and people’s routines.

“Theft from motor vehicles, robberies, malicious damage to property, motor vehicle theft and break and enter are largely what we might call predatory, street-level crimes, that rely on an offender targeting a vulnerable location,” he said.

Using public transport or being on the street makes people a target for criminals, he said.

“When at work, they are more likely to leave their cars in car parks, which offenders know won’t be returned to for several hours. Daytime is also when people are most likely to leave their houses unoccupied, and so making it an easier target for break and enter offences.”

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