DESPITE an increase of more than 50 per cent in drug offences, statistics indicate that the Southern Grampians police area continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in Victoria.
Inspector Steve Thompson said that from a policing perspective, it was an extremely pleasing result and a credit to the community.
“Overall we have experienced a 9.6 per cent increase in reported crime for the period,” he said in reference to crime statistics for the past financial when compared with the previous 12 months.
“The increase is driven primarily by a 51.6 per cent increase in drug offences and a 25.2 per cent increase in theft from motor vehicles.
‘‘Other areas such as non-family violence related assaults and burglary have seen significant decreases.”
Inspector Thompson said the rise in drug offences was driven by police efforts to detect offences.
“Significant resources have been deployed in this area to minimise the impact that drug harm has on our community,” he said.
“If anyone has any information in relation to suspected drug activity, I encourage you to let us know via the Crime Stoppers hotline on 1800 333 000.”
The police chief said the majority of theft from motor car offences had happened in Hamilton and Portland residential areas.
“We have had a good deal of success investigating these offences, identifying and charging a number of offenders in both areas,” he said.
“In the majority of instances, the vehicles broken into have been left unlocked and parked on the street or in driveways.
‘‘Often property has also been left on display in the vehicles.
“The message here is don’t make it easy for the opportunistic thief — lock the car and don’t leave property on display. Also, if you see or hear anything suspicious don’t hesitate to call police on the 000 number.”
Inspector Thompson said although assaults were slightly up overall, it was reassuring that assaults excluding family violence were down by 14 per cent.
“Family violence continues to be a strong focus for us,” he said.
“We will take some form of action at all incidents that come to our attention.
‘‘Where appropriate, criminal charges will be laid and in other circumstances we may proceed with intervention orders and/or referrals.
‘‘I ask you all to take a stand against family violence and give courage to those that need support to speak out and seek help.”
Inspector Thompson said police continued to place a strong emphasis on doing whatever they could to reduce road trauma.
“A number of both local and statewide traffic operations have been conducted during the reporting period,” he said.
“These operations have focused on the known drivers of road trauma — speed, alcohol, fatigue and vehicle roadworthiness.
‘‘This will be a continued focus for us, so please, when you get out on the road please take every bit of care to ensure you and your family arrive safely at your destination,” he said.