Motor vehicle thefts on the rise in City of Greater Bendigo

ON THE RISE: Motor vehicle thefts and thefts from a motor vehicle are increasing across the City of Greater Bendigo.
ON THE RISE: Motor vehicle thefts and thefts from a motor vehicle are increasing across the City of Greater Bendigo.

MOTOR vehicle thefts have more than doubled in the past five years in greater Bendigo, crime statistics show.

Figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency show motor vehicle thefts in the City of Greater Bendigo last year rose by 44 per cent when compared to 2015 figures. 

More than 360 vehicles were stolen in 2016, compared to 252 in 2015, and 177 in 2012 – a 106 per cent jump in the past five years. 

Similarly, thefts from a motor vehicle have also increased by 40 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and by 42 per cent since 2012.

Greater Bendigo police Inspector Shane Brundell said the increase in thefts was a statewide phenomena and was not Bendigo-centric.

“We are working hard at reducing this but we need the community help,” he said.

“Unfortunately these type of offences occur right across our response area.

“We know that these offences occur through the day and night at a mix of locations including residential addresses and community locations such as shopping areas and public transport hubs.” 

Across Victoria, motor vehicle thefts rose 27 per cent in 2016 with 23,967 offences recorded, compared to 18,862 in 2015. Compared to 2012, last year’s state figures have risen 49 per cent.

Inspector Brundell said the increase in both motor vehicle thefts and thefts from a motor vehicle in greater Bendigo equated to about 350 additional victims of crime in 2016.

“A large percentage of these offences occurred as a result of vehicles being left unsecured, with keys and other valuables inside the vehicles,” he said.

At a suburb level, Bendigo recorded the most motor vehicle thefts at 48 offences and the most thefts from a motor vehicle, 159 offences, from a group of 27 Bendigo suburbs the Bendigo Advertiser analysed.

Kangaroo Flat came in at a close second with 44 motor vehicle thefts and 119 thefts from a motor vehicle, or “steal from a motor vehicle” offences.

Inspector Brundell said police had seen a reduction in theft of and theft from motor vehicle offences in the past month with their recent Volume Crime focus, targeting wanted persons and actively managing known recidivist offenders.

“We are pleased by this trend but there is still a lot of hard work to be done by police and the community as a whole,” he said.

Inspector Brundell said there were number of simple steps people could take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft:

  • Lock your car at all times – even when parking at home in the driveway or garage
  • Secure your keys and never leave them in your car
  • These crimes occur when doors and windows are left unlocked, but thieves will also smash a car window or break locks if they see valuables left in plain sight
  • Don’t leave valuable items such as wallets and electronic devices in full view of passers-by. Take them with you if possible
  • Park in well-lit and secure areas if possible
  • Attach one-way screws; and
  • Report suspicious behaviour to police immediately via triple-0 (000).