“...what’s re­ally im­por­tant to me is that peo­ple feel safe” - In­spec­tor Hicks By JUSTIN JENVEY

Myrtleford Times - - News -

CRIME in the Alpine Shire has fallen for the third year in a row.

The lat­est Crime Agency Statis­tics re­leased last Fri­day for the year end­ing June 30, shows a 9.1 per cent over­all re­duc­tion in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity in the Alpine LGA.

To­tal of­fences were at their low­est since 2013 with 38 fewer in­ci­dents re­ported over the 12 month pe­riod.

In­spec­tor Ker­rie Hicks (pic­tured above) said the drop from 419 of­fences to 381 was pleas­ing for po­lice and the com­mu­nity in the Ovens and Kiewa val­leys.

“The data is good but what’s re­ally im­por­tant to me is that peo­ple feel safe and part of that is hav­ing that com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the com­mu­nity and ac­tu­ally mak­ing sure they feel safe,” she said.

De­spite an over­all re­duc­tion in crime there were some of­fences that in­creased.

Most no­tably there were five more as­saults com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year while In­spec­tor Hicks said the rise in sex­ual as­saults from 24 of­fences to 32 was due to his­tor­i­cal cases be­ing re­ported.

“Crimes against the per­son ob­vi­ously rep­re­sents po­ten­tial harm, as­saults have gone from 45 to 50 and although they’re rel­a­tively low num­bers we don’t like to see in­creases,” she said.

“The fig­ures for sex­ual as­saults have gone up with a num­ber of his­tor­i­cal of­fences re­ported, so peo­ple shouldn’t be wor­ried that we have a se­ries or a sin­gle of­fender com­mit­ting new of­fences.

“We re­ally do en­cour­age peo­ple to re­port sex­ual of­fences as soon as they are ready to and if any­one needs in­for­ma­tion there is a help­ful pod­cast by Vic­to­ria Po­lice called ‘Un­speak­able’ that de­tails how peo­ple can go about that.”

Bur­glary, theft and de­cep­tion all dropped with 32 fewer of­fences across the three cat­e­gories.

Ms Hicks said it was also good to see no growth in prop­erty dam­age.

“Theft be­ing down is a great news story be­cause we have done a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion around en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to lock their cars and homes and make sure valu­ables aren’t vis­i­ble,” In­spec­tor Hicks said.

“We en­cour­age peo­ple to con­tinue to keep their valu­ables out of sight and locked es­pe­cially on farm­ing prop­er­ties where it is re­ally im­por­tant to lock all equip­ment and ma­chin­ery.”

Drug of­fences were down from 34 to 27 but In­spec­tor Hicks said that was one area she would like to see in­crease with the com­mu­nity help­ing to catch peo­ple cul­ti­vat­ing or man­u­fac­tur­ing drugs.

“What we re­ally rely on is the com­mu­nity for that crime cat­e­gory,” she said.

“In the pre­vi­ous 12 months we had five peo­ple charged with cul­ti­vate or man­u­fac­ture drugs but none this year.

“If peo­ple have any in­for­ma­tion about crime ac­tiv­ity we want them to con­tact Crime Stop­pers which they can do anony­mously via the web­site or by call­ing 1800 333 000.”

Ms Hicks said po­lice in the re­gion had worked hard to en­force pub­lic or­der and se­cu­rity of­fences and jus­tice pro­ce­dures.

“Pub­lic or­der and se­cu­rity of­fences were up by 11 of­fences so that’s ev­i­dence that po­lice are get­ting out there and check­ing cars find­ing weapons and tak­ing them off the street which is al­ways a good thing,” she said.

“Like­wise with jus­tice pro­ce­dures, while they’re low num­bers in­creas­ing from two to five it’s good to see po­lice en­forc­ing those re­ally im­por­tant pieces of leg­is­la­tion like breaches of pa­role and fam­ily vi­o­lence or­ders.”

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