BENDIGO’s latest crime figures, which show offences jumped by almost 30 per cent in 2016, are at odds with the current situation in the region.
That’s according to Greater Bendigo police Inspector Shane Brundell, who said a heightened focus on high-volume crime in the past three months had driven down theft crimes.
“In January we were dealing with 19 burglaries per week – now it’s nine,” Inspector Brundell said.
Victoria Police recorded 10,828 offences in Greater Bendigo in the year ending December 31, 2016, compared to 8400 the previous year, according to data from the Crime Statistics Agency.
The increase of 28.9 per cent is coupled with crimes recorded in the Bendigo postcode, 3550, also jumping 31.9 per cent during the same period.
Greater Bendigo has seen the sharpest spike in recorded crimes of the larger regional areas in Victoria, according to the CSA figures, with Ballarat (7.4 per cent) and Geelong (10.9 per cent) experiencing steady rises in offences.
Only Strathbogie Shire (35.6 per cent) and Benalla Rural City (36.8 per cent) had higher increases in recorded crime from 2015-16.
Breaches of court orders (1903), theft (1003), criminal damage (843), assault and related offences (784), and theft from a motor vehicle (878), were the main contributors to Greater Bendigo’s statistics.
There were seven homicide and related offences in 2016, according to the CSA figures, down from nine the previous year, and up from two in 2014.
Inspector Brundell said Victoria Police’s volume crime reduction strategy was proving effective.
“We’re trying to increase awareness among the community about reducing their risk of becoming victims,” Inspector Brundell said.
“We make sure our forensic people get out and try and find as much evidence as we can (with burglaries). We try and find the nexus between the crime scene and the assailant.
“We’re very much encouraged by the information we’re getting from the community.”
Inspector Brundell said he expected an improved set of CSA reported crime statistics, upon their next release.