Crimes increase

CRIME rates in Wellington policing district have again risen, reflecting a trend evident across the state.

And once again drugs, both legal and illicit, have been identified as a major cause of offences, along with an increase in family violence reports.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay told the media more than a third of crimes against people committed in 2012-13 related to family violence, a trend he described as alarming, but he also pointed to an increased community confidence in reporting the offence.

Commissioner Lay also said the state wide increase of almost 12 per cent in drug offences was a major concern, with ice and amphetamine use driving the rate up, while cannabis use remained stable and heroin-related offences had marginally decreased.

In the Wellington policing district a similar situation was evident during the reporting period from July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Inspector Shane Smith said the local community had clearly identified illicit drugs as being a significant driver of crime in Wellington.

“We have focused strongly in this area with a view to disrupting illicit drug activity. Our efforts have driven an increase in the detection of drug offences to the order of 17.1 per cent.

“This means a large amount of drugs have been removed from the streets, along with a number of offenders being charged,” he said.

Thefts from motor cars have increased by almost 68 per cent compared with the same quarter 12 months ago.

“As I highlighted in the last quarter, our investigations clearly show the majority of these crimes are opportunistic, meaning many of the cars were left unlocked,” Inspector Smith said.

“As an example, one night recently police checked the security of cars in one local street. They were stunned to find 16 cars left unlocked.

“This makes it very easy for would-be thieves to steal your property. You can prevent yourself from becoming a victim by taking simple security precautions, such as locking your car,” he said.

“The other concerning issue is the increase in burglary offences.

“Again there appears to be a reluctance to properly secure one’s premises. I simply ask you consider these matters and take any appropriate steps to remove the opportunity.”

The statistics:

From April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 assaults excluding family violence, occurred at more than twice the state norm, at a ratio of 2.1 to 1, with a total of 406 assaults reported, an increase of 10 per cent.

There were 14 robberies, compared to eight the previous year.

There were more prosecutions for drug offences, 178 compared to 152.

Burglaries other than residential occurred at 1.8 times the state norm with 201 reported, an increase of 17 per cent. Residential burglaries occurred at 1.4 times the state norm, with 299 reported, an increase of 20 per cent.

Thefts from motor vehicles rose by 68 per cent, with 309 vehicles having property stolen from them, but thefts of vehicles declined from 82 to 75.

Property damage also increased, with 501 incidents reported compared to 461 the previous year.

On the positive side, fatalities from road collisions fell from seven to three, while injuries declined from 231 to 199.

The community can assist police by reporting suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or for urgent police attention phone triple zero (000).