Drug crime on the rise

An increase in drug offence figures over the past year have been attributed to hard work by local police, especially the divisional response unit.

An increase in drug offence figures over the past year have been attributed to hard work by local police, especially the divisional response unit.

DRUG, violence and motor vehicle theft offences have risen across the south-west police division during the past 12 months, but overall crime rates are lower than the state average.

The biggest jump was in the Warrnambool area, which also covers Moyne and Corangamite shires, where recorded drug offences were 124.8 per cent higher for the 12 months to March 31. 

Warrnambool-based Inspector William Weatherley attributed the higher drug offence figures to hard work by local police, especially the divisional response unit.

“These fantastic results could not be achieved without assistance and information from local community members,” he said.

In the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shires drug offences were up by 83.2 per cent and Hamilton-based Inspector Nick Finnegan said the deliberate focus on tackling these crimes would continue.

Victoria police figures released yesterday show 245 drug offences were detected in the City of Warrnambool and the shires of Moyne and Corangamite while there were 185 in the Hamilton-Portland districts.

There were 1798 property offences (down 15 per cent) and 798 crimes “against the person” (up 12.7 per cent) in Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite while in Southern Grampians and Glenelg there were 1375 property crimes (up 3.9 per cent) and 434 crimes “against the person” (up 39 per cent).

Non-family violence assaults rose 28 per cent to 322 offences in the Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite area while in Southern Grampians and Glenelg it rose 22.7 per cent to 173 incidents.

Motor vehicle theft remains a significant problem in Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite area where 87 incidents were recorded (up 67 per cent) while in Southern Grampians and Glenelg area there were 48 incidents (up 14.3 per cent).

Theft from motor vehicles soared 51 per cent in Southern Grampians and Glenelg with 192 incidents, while in Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite area it fell 33 per cent to 172 incidents.

Burglaries were down in all areas.

The 12 road fatalities in the Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite area was six times higher than the previous 12 months, while no fatalities were recorded in other sections of the south-west police division.

Inspector Finnegan said alcohol and/or drugs played a part in many reported assaults.

“Some of the increase in assaults can be attributed to single incidents where multiple offenders were involved,” he said.

Inspector Finnegan said the 51 per cent rise in theft from motor vehicles could have been avoided by locking vehicles and not leaving valuables on display.

Inspector Weatherley said it was pleasing to see property crimes continue to trend downwards.

“When you factor in that of all of the property crime reported in the Warrnambool PSA (police service area), 34.9 per cent is solved, it is a remarkable achievement,” he said.

“I again stress to all members of the community to make sure you lock your cars and where possible garage them at night.”

He said the increase in street assaults remained a concern.

“It is worth noting that 83.9 per cent of all non-family violence assaults reported to police in the Warrnambool police local area were solved in the past 12 months,” Inspector Weatherley said.

“All police members are committed to making the Warrnambool police local area a safer place to live.”

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