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