Drug offences jump 67 per cent

DRUG offences have jumped 67.8 per cent in Bendigo in 12 months, and family violence related assaults remain of concern.

Victoria Police has today published its latest crime statistics, which show the number of drug offences jumped from 276 for the period April 2012-March 2013, to 463 the following year.

Crime against property jumped 4.2 per cent, and total crime increased 6.4 per cent.

There were fewer robberies, burglaries, theft from motor vehicles and assaults (excluding family violence).

However, the number of overall assaults increased.

Inspector Brad Dixon said police were committed to dealing with illegal behaviour in the community, and the latest figures showed some pleasing results, however family violence assaults were still driving the crimes against the person category.    

"Our assault data (excluding family violence) sees a 9.1 per cent decrease in street assaults which is fantastic news,'' he said.

"Our tasking unit will continue to monitor this and react where appropriate.  Our continued liaison with licensed premises through the Greater Bendigo Liquor Accord and high visibility approach in our known trouble areas has helped produce this reduction.  

"We maintain a focus on tackling drug related crime, especially ICE, within our community.

"This has seen our detected drug offences increase by 67.8 per cent. This is a great result that we are now able to make more of an impact on the local drug trade. We thank the community members who have been providing information to enable us to target suspect drug dealers with the overall aim of reducing many criminal offences.''

Inspector Dixon said theft from motor vehicle, theft of motor vehicle and burglary (other) all dropped, but police "needed to remain vigilant because more recent trends suggest these figures may increase''.

"We have recently formed a burglary and theft taskforce which will be specifically dealing with these issues,'' he said.

"Of pleasing note is six less people have been killed on our roads in the last 12 months, but we have seen a slight increase in injuries. We continue our campaign to drive down road trauma through education and enforcement.

"Crime against property category includes deception related offences and two offenders being responsible for multiple offences are the main reason for the increase in crime overall. Without these multiple offences, we would have experienced a decrease in this crime category. The category of ‘other crime’ also includes many family violence related offences which we are proactively targeting through our family violence team.''

Inspector said police still had "come challenges around family violence'' but he was confident that with a professional and integrated approach working with community and other agencies, those offences could be driven down.

The statistics compare the 12 months to March 2014 with the 12 months to March 2013. 

The overall recorded crime rate across the state has increased by five per cent, measured as a rate per 100,000 of the population which is standard across Australia. The total number of offences recorded is up by 7.1 per cent (up 28,732 offences to a total of 434,497 offences). 

Crime against the person has increased by 0.7 per cent as a rate per 100,000 population. In this category, assaults are up 0.3 per cent. Robbery is down 12.7 per cent and assault excluding family violence is down 2.5 per cent. 

Crime against property has increased by two per cent as a rate per 100,000 population, with theft from motor vehicle up 3.4 per cent. Property damage is down 5.8 per cent and residential burglaries down 5.2 per cent. 

Drug offences have increased by 15.5 per cent as a rate per 100,000 population. 

Other crimes have increased by 19 per cent as a rate per 100,000 population, with the main driver being offences such as breaches of intervention orders. 

Deputy Commissioner Lucinda Nolan said the rise in crime rates could be attributed to more justice procedure offences and drug offences. 

However, a rise in deceptions, in the property crime category, was also impacting on overall crime rates, with an increase of around 11,600 offences over the past 12 months. 

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