Crime trends down

CRIME has continued to decline in the Wellington Shire, according to recently released statistics.

According to information released by the Crime Statistics Agency last week, crime in Wellington Shire has steadily dropped more than 17 per cent since 2016.

In the year ending September 30, 2018, there were 3787 recorded offences reported in Wellington Shire, down from 4110 offences in 2017, and 4590 in 2016.

In the year to September, 2018, there were 822 offences against the person — including 490 assault and related offences — down from 950 in 2017 and 1047 in 2016.

There were also 1605 property and deception offences, which included 814 thefts and 410 counts of property damage.

This is down from last year’s 1743 offences.

Drug offences have increased from last year, up 22 per cent, with 239 drug offences recorded, up from 195 in 2017.

In terms of criminal incidents pertaining to drugs however, the rate remains relatively steady — 112 drug-related criminal incidents in 2018, 114 in 2017 and 131 in 2016.

Residential burglaries are at their lowest levels ever recorded in Victoria.

Records show that at their peak in 2000, there were about 80,000 residential burglaries across the state. Now there are about 38,000.

Wellington has also shown a similar 50 per cent reduction in burglaries.

Victoria Police Local Area Commander Inspector Scott Brennan said Victoria had experienced a 1.6 per cent drop in offences, or in real terms 8515 fewer offences during the past 12 months.

“Crime statistics have been decreasing since June 2017, and are at their lowest levels since September 2014,” he said.

“Wellington is reflecting a similar drop in reported crime.”

Inspector Brennan said this could be attributed to a range of factors, including an increased focus from Victoria Police on repeat offenders and more “proactive patrols and taskforces”.

He also noted there had been a decrease in several categories, especially property, which contributed to a large percentage of all crime in Victoria.

“These crimes, such as theft, had been driving the increase in previous years.”

Inspector Brennan said the reduction could also be partially attributed to the impact of bail reform after the Coghlan review, which has those who commit serious offences while on bail not granted bail again unless they can prove exceptional circumstances.

“More people are being remanded and less offenders are receiving bail,” he said.

Across Victoria, the criminal incident rate declined by 3.8 per cent to 5938.7 incidents per 100,000 Victorians, the lowest rates since the year ending September 2014.

Alleged offender incidents increased by 1.2 per cent to 173,684 in the past 12 months.

Victorian population growth contributed to the alleged offender rate dropping 1.1 per cent to 2684.8 per 100,000 population.

In the year ending September 2018, the number of victim reports recorded decreased 2.8 per cent to 299,994, the lowest since September 2015.

The rate decreased by five per cent to 4637.3 victim reports per 100,000 Victorians, the lowest in the past 10 years.

Family related incidents increased 3.5 per cent to 78,001 incidents.

Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said the decline meant the figures were similar to those reported in 2014 and 2015.

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