Drug offences up by 10.3 per cent

DRUG offences in the Wellington police service area have increased by 10.3 per cent, latest crime figures have revealed.

The increase mirrors a state-wide upward trend, with overall drug offences in Victoria up by 14.4 per cent.

While police have made inroads to burglary offences in the Wellington police service area, an increase in other offences has resulted in an overall crime rise of 5.4 per cent.

Victoria Police published its latest crime statistics last week, comparing the 12 months to September 2014 with the 12 months to September 2013.

Burglary offences in Wellington are down 13.5 per cent, while robbery offences are also down, from 13 offences down to two.

But crime against the person is up, with a 5.3 per cent increase in assault (excluding family violence) and 4.1 per cent increase in property damage, largely attributed to an overall increase of 5.4 per cent.

Thefts of motor vehicles are up by seven offences, while theft from motor vehicles are up by four offences.

Inspector Rob Wallace, based in Sale, said local and state task force units have been specifically tasked to address crime, speed, fatigue, drug and alcohol related offending.

“Despite these efforts the overall crime category has risen by 5.4 per cent in the last quarter,” he said.

“Whilst there has been an increase in assault excluding family violence, property damage and theft of motor vehicles, we have seen reductions in burglary.”

Road policing statistics in Wellington reflect the increase in the Victorian road toll, with seven fatalities compared to four, while total injuries are up by 19.2 per cent.

“It is disappointing to see a 19.1 per cent increase in injury collisions, which is largely due to increased reporting of off-road motorcycle and four wheel drive collisions,” Inspector Wallace said.

“In the next quarter, which includes the Christmas holiday period, we will be conducting several traffic operations targeting speed, fatigue, alcohol and drug affected drivers and off-road activity.

“These operations are conducted by all police members within the Wellington PSA including the highway patrol and our partner agencies.”

Inspector Wallace said with warmer temperatures approaching, units would also focus on the liquor industry to minimise anti-social behaviour in and around licensed premises and residential areas.

State-wide, crime has increased by 3.3 per cent, with total number of offences up by 5.3 per cent.

Deputy Commissioner Lucinda Nolan said the increase in crime statistics overall was being driven by breaches in bail and intervention orders, and more drug offences, especially a rise in possession and use and manufacturing and trafficking of amphetamines.

However a significant increase in vehicle-related theft across most of the state was also a concern, with theft from and theft of motor vehicles contributing to around 15 per cent of the total crime that occurred in Victoria.