De­cline in crime

Lat­est fig­ures show low­est crime rate to­tals in a decade

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY JUSTIN JENVEY jjen­vey@ne­me­

CRIME in the In­digo Shire is at a 10-year low with the lat­est Crime Agency Sta­tis­tics re­leased late last month re­veal­ing a ma­jor drop in of­fences for the year end­ing June 30.

To­tal of­fences were down 11 per cent from 461 to 411 in the past 12 months which con­tin­ues a down­ward trend since the 2013/14 re­port­ing pe­riod.

The big­gest con­trib­u­tor to the de­crease was from pub­lic order and se­cu­rity of­fences more than halv­ing from 60 in­ci­dents to just 25 with disor­derly and of­fen­sive con­duct the low­est it’s been in the last decade.

Prop­erty and de­cep­tion of­fences is where the next great­est change came from with to­tal of­fences drop­ping from 225 to 198.

That in­cluded bur­glar­ies and break and be­ing en­ters down from 51 in­ci­dents to 35 and de­cep­tion spe­cific of­fences low­er­ing from 29 to 13.

In­spec­tor Paul Har­g­reaves said po­lice were fo­cused on re­duc­ing prop­erty and theft re­lated of­fences in the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties like those in the In­digo Shire.

“We spend a lot of time and ef­fort on that sort of ac­tiv­ity in ru­ral towns,” he said

“Peo­ple might think that be­cause they live in the coun­try they won’t be a vic­tim and while in­ci­dents might be few and far be­tween it’s im­por­tant to get the mes­sage across for peo­ple to lock up and keep hid­den away things of value to avoid be­ing tar­geted by bur­glars.”

While as­saults de­clined from 57 to 41 over the past 12 months, crime against the per­sons ac­tu­ally climbed the most which was brought on by a 140 per­cent in­crease in the num­ber of sex­ual of­fences be­ing listed.

How­ever, Insp Har­g­reaves said the rea­son for the spike was due to his­tor­i­cal re­port­ing of in­ci­dents.

“With his­tor­i­cal re­ports there are more and more peo­ple com­ing for­ward with con­fi­dence to re­port an in­ci­dent,” he said.

“We en­cour­age that and will al­ways in­ves­ti­gate those thor­oughly.

“De­spite in­creases like we’ve seen, we see it as a pos­i­tive that we’re iden­ti­fy­ing an of­fender and deal­ing with cases.”

Across the In­digo Shire all the ma­jor cen­tres saw less crime with Rutherglen and Chiltern hit­ting their low­est marks in the past 10 years while the to­tal num­ber of in­ci­dents in Beech­worth dropped for the third straight year.

There were just 75 crimes recorded in Rutherglen over the last 12 months af­ter 100 across the 2016/17 year while of­fences in Chiltern were down from 51 to 44 and 116 to 109 in Beech­worth.

Af­ter 59 crim­i­nal in­ci­dents in Bar­nawartha two years ago there were just 23 to June 20, 2018, a fig­ure that was 20 less than the 12 months prior.

The only in­crease came at Tangam­balanga with a rise in of­fences from 11 to 29.

In Vic­to­ria, recorded of­fences are the low­est they have been since June 2015 and Insp Har­g­reaves said it was good to know that the In­digo Shire was con­tribut­ing to the de­cline in crime.

“A lot of it is due to some proac­tive work and a lot of it comes from re­port­ing through mem­bers of the pub­lic that give us a bit of a tip-off that we can then act on,” he said.

“I would say con­grat­u­la­tions to the com­mu­nity, it’s some­thing to cel­e­brate when you see your sta­tis­tics go down like that and with the over­all the state trend down so it’s nice to now we are fol­low­ing that.”

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