SEXUAL assault rates have soared by almost 25 per cent in the New England North West region.
The number of incidents grew from 241 to 301 this year, data from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals.
The reason for the spike is hard to pinpoint because sexual assault is often an opportunistic crime, New England Police District Detective Inspector Ann Joy said.
"Certainly any increase is of a concern, these increases are often sporadic so it's a matter of treating each individual report and responding appropriately," she said.
"The more promptly it's reported to us the better.
"We can take steps to preserve evidence while someone is making a decision about whether they want the matter to proceed to court, and most importantly they are in a position to obtain the relevant support be it counselling or medical."
In Tamworth, the number of sexual assaults jumped from 82 to 92 this year by September.
Women are more likely to be victims, with just 4.3 per cent of men experiencing sexual violence according to Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.
Historically, male victims are less likely to report sexual assaults to police, Detective Inspector Joy said.
"You certainly see more women than men as victims but that doesn't mean there are no male victims," she said.
"Young adulthood is probably the principle time you get some of these offences occurring."
There are steps people can take to minimise their risk, Detective Inspector Joy said, like looking after friends in alcohol-fueled situations and being aware of the environment.
The New England North West region saw a significant downturn in property crime, with 7.6 per cent less offences recorded by police.
That's thanks to a focus on engagement with young offenders, Detective Inspector Joy said.
"We've been looking at early intervention strategies with a view to change behaviour before it becomes too consistent," she said.