Robberies on the rise, drug use down

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By Mitchell Clarke

Assaults and robberies are on the rise in Cardinia while house burglaries and drug use is down, according to new data released from the Crime Statistics Agency on Thursday 20 June.

Police in Cardinia have noticed an increase in the number of robberies over the past 12 months and have stepped up patrols in high risk community locations in a bid to deter this type of offending.

Cardinia Local Area Commander Inspector Dearne Dummett said youth are over represented both as victims and perpetrators of these crimes.

“We’re typically seeing robberies being committed in residential streets in close proximity to public transport hubs and shopping centres, with groups of youth opportunistically targeting a single victim to steal their mobile phone, tablet or laptop,” Inspector Dummett said.

“Police are committed to holding these youth offenders to account – we’ve been working extremely hard to investigate offences and manage high-risk persons of interest.”

On a positive note, residential burglaries are at their lowest levels ever recorded in Victoria for a second consecutive quarter.

“It’s encouraging to see that there has been a significant decrease in the number of residential burglaries and aggravated burglaries over the past year,” Inspector Dummett said.

Data has shown that aggravated burglaries are down 20.9 per cent and residential burglaries are down 18 per cent compared to this time last year.

“We’ll continue to work hard to prevent, deter, investigate and arrest offenders in order to keep people and their homes safe.”

Cardinia police have been focusing on targeting high volume crimes such as theft of motor vehicles and opportunistic theft from vehicles.

Statistics have shown a 25.5 per cent increase of motor vehicle theft while theft from motor vehicles has increased by 19 per cent.

“We know these types of crime have been a concern recently and police will continue to proactively target known hotspots in an effort to detect and deter offending,” Inspector Dummett said.

“We want to remind the community there are a number of simple steps that people can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of vehicle-related theft.”

Locking cars, securing keys, parking in well-lit, secure areas and not leaving valuable items in cars are among the most effective ways to avoid becoming a victim.

Drug use in Cardinia has decreased despite possession of drugs and drug usage rising 11 per cent across Victoria as a whole.

Not complacent, the primary focus of police is to target drug dealers and traffickers, particularly those preying on vulnerable members of the community.

“We are committed to investigating and pursuing the illicit drug traffickers and dealers who profit from this trade,” Inspector Dummett said.

“Cardinia has seen a 6 per cent increase in the number of drug trafficking offences in the past year.”

Meanwhile, the number of breaches of orders has increased in Cardinia by nearly 42 per cent, indicating a reflection of good police work, ensuring offenders abide by bail conditions and orders set by courts or police.

“We are committed to holding family violence perpetrators to account and enhancing our response to victims is a force-wide focus for Victoria Police,” Inspector Dummett said.

“This is evidenced by a 35.7 per cent increase in breaches of family violence intervention orders.”

Across Victoria, the latest data from the independent Crime Statistics Agency shows that after seven consecutive quarterly reductions, the crime rate has stabilised.

The data for the year to March 2019 shows a stabilisation in the crime rate with a minor increase of 0.5 per cent offences per 100,000 populations compared to the previous year period.

The agency advises that the offence rate, which takes into account population change, is the most appropriate measure of comparison over time.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville says this stabilising crime rate is largely due to the efforts of expanding and well-resourced police force proactively policing crime.

“Our unprecedented investment in police numbers and capability continues to make a real difference with increasing numbers of offenders processed by police and the lowest number of victims on record,” Ms Neville said.

“Our record $2 billion investment is delivering 3135 additional new police, of which more than 1900 have already been allocated or deployed to communities.”

Back home, Cardinia residents are being reassured that police are working around the clock to ensure the statistics continue to decrease.

“Our police have been working extremely hard every day and night to interrupt the crime cycle,” Inspector Dummett said.

“We will continue to do all we can to prevent and detect crime in order to ensure the Cardinia community is safe and feels safe.”

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