Crime rate in Moorabool Shire has jumped more than 16 per cent, with offences such as drug trafficking and robbery continuing to rise.
Statistics show that there were 2,250 offences recorded in Moorabool by Victoria Police in the year to March 2016, up 16.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.
This places Moorabool well above the statewide increase of 12.4 per cent.
Major offence categories that showed the highest significant upward trends were drug dealing and trafficking (76%), robbery (100%), assault (42%) and breaches of orders (161%).
Bacchus Marsh Inspector Brendan McCrory said the figures were disappointing, but not surprising.
“We have weekly meetings where we monitor our crime rate, so I was aware that crime in Moorabool was increasing. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever be in a position where we will arrest ourselves out of crime; but we need to work together, in partnership with both the community and the department, to address the issue across the whole state,” he said.
“What I would be asking of the community is to victim harden themselves, and in saying that I mean we need houses to be locked, vehicles to be locked and valuables to be removed”.
Inspector McCrory said metropolitan crime was creeping into rural areas, with criminals from Melton, Geelong, Werribbee and Ballarat pursuing what they knew to be a “softer target”.
“The rural areas are being targeting by groups of youth who will do entire streets, trying every door handle they can until they find one that is unlocked. Areas that aren’t built up are also being targeted because there is a lack of visibility from neighbours and most rural properties are known to have a motorbike or chainsaw that can be disposed of easily”.
“The community just needs to be aware. Country people will recognise vehicles that don’t belong in certain streets and they need to act on their suspicions by contacting triple-0 and/or crime stoppers”.
Inspector McCrory also commented on 161 per cent increase in breaches of orders, stating that there was a valid reason for the concerning figure.
“The reason the number has increased is due to the huge media and political push against family violence. People are now willing to report even minor breaches, knowing that action will be taken,” he said.
“It is certainly disappointing that people are breaching [their orders], but I also take comfort in knowing that victims are prepared to let us know when an order is breached so that we can act open them immediately”.
For a detailed breakdown of the crime statistic data, visit http://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au.
First appeared in The Moorabool News, June 28 2016.