Kyabram Free Press

Crime falls 8% in shire

- By Anna Mcguinness

Echuca police believe COVID-19 restrictio­ns have been partly responsibl­e for an eight per cent decrease in Campaspe region crime in the past 12 months.

The latest data Crime Statistics Victoria shows there were 2438 criminal incidents in Campaspe Shire in the 12 months to June 2021, with more than half of those in Echuca — down from 2649 in 2019-20.

While 1281 of Campaspe’s criminal incidents were in Echuca, Kyabram took second spot with 467, there were 156 in Rochester and 92 in Tongala.

There was a considerab­le drop in burglaries and break and enters, from 283 down to 181, but public health and safety offences went up, 137 compared to 38.

Police picked up 75 incidents of drug possession, 23 of drug cultivatio­n and 12 drug traffickin­g offences.

The top crime in Campaspe was breach of family violence orders with 256, a slight decrease from 274 in the previous 12 months.

Theft was also prevalent, with 67 motor vehicle thefts, 231 thefts from a motor vehicle, 61 thefts from a retail store and 170 ‘other’ thefts.

“A reduction of eight per cent is fairly good in my view and heading in the right direction,” Echuca Senior Sergeant Mick Carroll said.

“I would think the COVID lockdowns had a bit to do with it; there’s been less people around town and less visitors.

“We’ve also had an excellent clear-up rate. "People that have committed crime have been arrested and placed in custody, so a lot of that recidivist sort of offending has been reduced.

“I think people are also starting to get the message with taking responsibi­lity for locking up their cars, so that’s starting to get through and people are starting to do the right thing.”

While crime overall fell, family violence incidents were up 7.3 per cent, from 728 incidents in 2019-20 to 781 in 2020-21.

“We’re continuing to go hard on family violence,” Snr Sgt Carroll said.

“While we see a lot of family violence, I think the way the police have been more positive over the years in taking it seriously and looking after people is having a positive effect.

“An increase shows people are more aware of the fact they can report it and the police will take it seriously.

“We view that as a positive thing and we encourage people to report those incidents and we’ll deal with them.”

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