Bendigo’s crime rate has risen by 15.4 per cent from this time last year, but according to police the increase isn’t all bad news.
Recently released statistics compare the October 2010-September 2011 reported crime rate for the Bendigo police service area with that of the October 2011-September 2012 period.
The biggest increase was in “other crime”, which rose by 56.4 per cent.
Inspector Mark Edwards said this encompassed public order and street offences, and actually showed officers were being proactive in policing anti-social behaviour.
“The reason we have had that increase is we have a tasking unit now which goes out and focuses on licensing and anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“We put them in those anti-social times of 8pm to 4am, Friday and Saturday nights, at our licensed venues, and 3pm to 5am weekdays around the mall, Marketplace and railway station.”
But Inspector Edwards admitted a 26.7 per cent rise in assaults was “disappointing”.
“Positively, over the past month we have had some very good reductions in crime against the person that are not reflected in these statistics,” he said.
“But crime against the person and property increased by 19.8 per cent this reporting period.
“Crime against the person is being driven by assaults, which make up over 80 per cent of this category.
“Some people are not getting the message that assaulting another person is against the law.”
Inspector Edwards said the 30.3 per cent increase in theft from motor vehicles was also a big frustration, especially when cars were left unlocked.
“We’ve been seeing an increase in Kennington, Flora Hill and Epsom; there’s a lot of offences there and it’s the same old story,” he said.
Property damage was the only reported offence that fell in the reporting period. It decreased by 1.8 per cent.
But Inspector Edwards said the 24.6 per cent rise in reported drug offences was a positive.
“Drug offences are a proactive stat, so the more we catch the higher the stats,” he said.
“In this area we rely heavily on the public and we get really good information from the public.
“Bendigo is a great place for people giving us information, not only with drugs but also with hoon behaviour and thefts.”