A SURGE in the number of assaults and damage to property sparked a 26 per cent jump in crime across Moyne Shire, latest police figures have shown.
Crime in Warrnambool dropped by more than nine per cent in the past financial year, while Glenelg Shire recorded a 16 per cent decrease. Corangamite and Southern Grampians figures were stable.
Warrnambool district police Inspector Kevin Archer said he suspected the 43 per cent rise in assaults in Moyne — from 142 to 203 — may be attributed to an increase in reports of domestic and family violence.
Across the police district, which covers Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite, there was a 16.3 per cent rise in the number of assaults.
“If you take the family violence offences out, there’s actually been a 4.2 per cent reduction in assaults,” Inspector Archer said.
“I think family violence is driving our assault figures because we’ve been holding a campaign against that.”
Inspector Archer said the police service area (PSA) recorded a 0.8 per cent drop in crimes in 2011-12 when compared with the previous 12 months.
“Drug offences continue to show an increase of 33.1 per cent and reinforces our proactive approach and targeting of illegal use of drugs in the PSA,” he said.
He said a 50 per cent spike in the number of burglaries was partially attributable to a spate of burglaries on offices and shops in the Warrnambool CBD from March to June.
“Whilst burglary is by its nature an invasive crime, active investigations reflect a high arrest rate over the previous 12 months of 35.7 per cent for burglary (other) and 18.3 per cent for residential burglary. This is higher than most PSAs across the state.
“Investigations of residential burglaries have shown that a majority occur on soft targets, whereby garages and farm sheds have been targeted and lack of adequate security of these buildings is a contributing factor.”
Inspector Don Downes, from the Southern Grampians police district, which also covers Glenelg shire, welcomed the latest figures.
“The community should be really happy,” he said.
Inspector Downes said people provided a good deterrent for criminals by heeding warnings such as keeping valuables out of sight and locking vehicles.
A different style of policing had been implemented during the period, with a great focus on taskforce police, placing a great focus in particular problem areas.
“We’ve been pretty active in licensing enforcement and addressing crime around licensed premises,” Inspector Downes said.
The Southern Grampians police management team has also identified a need to establish a dedicated tasking unit that will focus on crimes, including drug offences.
Inspector Downes said the result would probably mean an increase in the detection rate of illicit drug activity.
Both inspectors encouraged people to report any suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.