By Rowan Forster
Crime in Cardinia has continued to tumble, according to latest figures, but the number of offences recorded remains higher under the Andrews Labor Government than its Liberal predecessor.
According to Crime Statistics Agency data released in December, the municipality saw 5837 crimes committed in the past year.
The number came as a seven per cent drop from the 6245 recorded in 2017; however, crime has remained more prevalent under Premier Daniel Andrews’ term.
In 2014, when the Coalition was in power, 5595 offences were recorded.
But population growth has proven to be a factor in the increase, with the rate of crime per 100,000 population sinking to a nine-year low.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville welcomed the latest statistics, but indicated that there was further work to do.
“Our record investment in Victoria Police – giving them the powers, tools and resources they need to keep the community safe – is making a real difference, but we know there’s more to do.”
“We’re turning around a six-year trend as crime rates continue to drop in Victoria, by delivering 3,135 new police officers and new laws to keep the community safe.”
Victims of crime such as Dwayne Brooks, who was bashed during a violent Narre Warren home invasion in 2017, are sceptical that the figures provide an accurate representation of law and order across the state.
Mr Brooks said his life was turned upside down when he was assaulted by a gang of crooks.
He believes the figures are being used, skewed and abused for the purpose of political warfare.
“Every time I hear the political parties gloating about these statistics, or using them to their advantage, it makes me sick,” he said.
“A single incident has the scope to change or destroy an entire life, so it is disgusting that 5837 crimes in our neighbourhood can be considered a bragging right.
“It doesn’t matter what a bunch of numbers say, it matters when your community is scared to sleep at night, worried about leaving the house unattended.”
Across Cardinia, fewer instances of assault, sexual offences, property damages and break and enters were recorded in the past year.
Robbery and arson were the two major crime categories which saw increases across the municipality.
Across the state, there were 508,597 recorded offences
Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety David Southwick took the opportunity to lash the government, amid the release of the figures.
“Before Daniel Andrews starts patting himself on the back over some selective statistics, the fact is the incidence of violent crime continues to increase under his watch,” he said.
“Recorded offences under the period of the Andrews Labor Government are now up 10.74 per cent.”