CRIME has risen by 20 per cent in Warrnambool with serious assaults, drug trafficking, burglaries and family violence offences all up.
Serious assaults in Warrnambool had increased from 126 for the year ending March 2016 to 145 for the following 12 months, new figures from the Crime Statistics Agency showed.
There has also been a rise in burglaries from 244 to 296 and drug trafficking offences have jumped from 39 to 60 for the same period.
Warrnambool police also had 195 breaches of family violence orders for the year ending in March 2016 and 248 for the previous 12 months.
Police inspector Paul Marshall said there had been a significant shift by police in the past six months to target recidivist offenders.
He said intelligence had been gathered to identify those offenders and target them. He said the strategy was a move away from a crime theme approach and often offenders were involved in more than one crime.
Inspector Marshall said police were also issuing a high number of search warrants resulting in more arrests and the recovery of a high number of stolen goods and drug offences.
He said burglaries remained a huge issue for local police as regional areas followed their metropolitan counterparts. “We’re seeing a shift to residential burglaries and alarmingly burglaries where people are sleeping in unlocked homes which increases the chance of a confrontation,” he said.
He said drug use, particularly the use of ice, continued to drive crime up in the region. “We’re seeing a lot of people with drug debts and a habit in excess of their weekly income,” he said.
In Corangamite there was a drop in serious assaults from 42 to 33. Police recorded a rise in sexual offences from 54 to 66 and a rise of thefts from motor vehicles from 39 in the year ending March 2016 to 66 to the next 12 months.
Police in Moyne Shire had an increase in burglaries from 47 in the year ending March 2016 to 66 in the next 12 months. There was a drop in drug use and possession from 85 to 43.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.