Crime on the increase

THE latest crime statistics have revealed an increase in offences over the past 12 months in Wellington Shire.

Released on Friday, the statistics show 3407 crimes recorded in the 12 months to September 30, an 18.8 per cent increase from the previous year.

The rate for Wellington, at 8122.5 for every 100,000 people, is above the state rate of 7056.9.

Of particular concern to police was the increase in assaults, which has risen by 39.2 per cent from 441 to 614.

With family violence taken out, the number of assaults increased by 28.4 per cent from 299 to 384.

The rates in Wellington for both assault categories are higher than the state average.

Wellington police Inspector Mick McGinn said family violence featured significantly in the assaults.

“It has been encouraging to see that the community takes this issue seriously and are prepared to report incidents of domestic violence to us,” he said.

“These offences will be vigorously investigated and those inflicting violence on others in these circumstances will be prosecuted.

“We have also seen an increase in our general assaults. Examination of the data associated with these assaults reveals that in the vast majority of cases those involved are well known to each other.

“I encourage those involved in disputes to seek assistance from support agencies rather than resorting to violence.”

There has been a 35 per cent increase in crime against the person (717 offences), and 4.1 per cent rise in crimes against property (1833), with the latter below the state rate.

While burglaries from residences has risen from 200 to 265, there has been a 24.3 per cent decrease in other forms of burglaries, falling from 227 to 172.

Insp. McGinn said police had done much work to remedy the number of burglaries from residences, making a number of significant arrests.

“There are a number of things that residents can do to reduce the risk of having your house broken into such as locking your doors and windows and reporting any suspicious behaviour that you see to the police,” he said.

Robberies have risen from two until October 2010 to 11 offences by September 2011.

A 20.1 per cent rise in drug offences, from 129 to 155, was attributed to an increase to police action in this area.

“This increase has come about as a result of our tasking and criminal investigation units proactively targeting known drug offenders,” Insp. McGinn said.

Police have been heartened by recent road safety improvements.

The number of road fatalities has gone from nine between July 2010 and June 2011 to three from July 2011 to June 2012. Total road injuries had fallen from 216 to 208, a 3.7 per cent decrease.

“Our highway and general patrol units will continue to target high risk behaviours and locations in the area to improve the safety of all road users,” Insp. McGinn said.