By Kyra Gillespie
Cardinia’s crime rates are the lowest they’ve been in almost ten years, with latest statistics revealing a drop in every major crime category in the region.
Recorded offences dropped 20.5 per cent drop in the 12 months up to 31 March 2018, according to a Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) report released today.
Property and deception offences (which include burglary, theft and arson) were down 23 per cent but continue to be the most prevalent in Cardinia at 2898 offences.
Cardinia Local Area Commander Inspector Shane Smith welcomed the consecutive drop in figures.
“Cardinia has achieved another quarterly drop in crime. This is really good news, especially in the face of the increasing population growth across the shire,” Insp Smith said.
“Property and deception represent more than half of all crime in Victoria (57 per cent), so any decrease in this offence category will have a big impact on our overall crime rate.
“Targeted operations to address these high volume crimes have led to significant reductions in burglaries (17.71 per cent) and thefts (24.75 per cent).”
Motor vehicle thefts are down 40.73 per cent and aggravated burglaries are down 52.75 per cent.
“While this is a pleasing trend to see, any one of these offences is a figure still too high for any of us in the community to tolerate,” Insp Smith continued.
“These types of crimes are a priority for us – given how brazen they are in nature and that they have the ability to leave long lasting trauma to victims.”
Drug use and possession has risen slightly by 2.3 per cent, while drug offences as a whole are down by 4 per cent.
While sexual assault offences have dropped marginally to 177 incidences (down .02 percent), they continue to increase at a state level.
(CSA) Chief Statistician Catherine Andersson said the introduction of a number of new sexual offence codes in the last three years has contributed to this increase.
15.9 per cent more offences relating to the possession of weapons and explosives were recorded.
Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp, of Victoria Police, said there were “really good results” where additional police were sent to growth-corridors such as Cardinia.
He also noted the impact of new forensics technology that quickly identified high-risk offenders using DNA and fingerprints.
A significant factor in the “disappointing” rise in sexual assaults was that victims were more willing to report to police and support agencies, Dep Comm Crisp said.
Dep Comm Crisp said people were focused on reducing the 160 home invasions recorded in the 12-month period.
Across Victoria, there were 2500 less family violence offences, including serious assaults, he noted.
Police will continue crime-reduction efforts locally.
“We have been putting a lot of resources behind this focus – with dedicated detectives working across regions and more proactive patrols in some areas,” Insp Smith said.
“I see these reductions as a reflection of the strong connection between local police and community, working together to make Cardinia a safer place.
“My team are working hard and taking every opportunity to engage with the community by attending local events and engaging via social media.”
Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Collin Ross described the results as “amazing” and attributed some of the success to local anti-family violence initiative Together We Can.
“Together We Can have been instrumental in shaping the community for the better,” Cr Ross said.
“Its all thanks to the community who has embraced the initiative.”