The number of sexual crimes reported in the City of Greater Bendigo has risen by almost 47 per cent in a year, despite an overall decrease in recorded offences.
The latest figures from Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency show the number of offences in Greater Bendigo has fallen by almost 8 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018, accompanied by a drop in the rate of crimes.
But there has been an increase of 14.5 per cent in crimes against the person, including the significant increase in the number of sexual offences recorded.
The rise in sexual offences continues an upwards trend that began in 2016.
The number of homicides in the municipality has fallen from seven in 2017 to two in 2018, but there has been a 4 per cent rise in assaults.
There has also been a 38.1 per cent increase in stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour in Greater Bendigo.
But the City has seen a 15.8 per cent decrease in property and deception offences, including an 18 per cent drop in thefts and a 23.1 per cent fall in burglaries and break-ins.
The number of drug offences has also decreased, as have public order and security offences.
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Overall, the number of offences across the policing region that encompasses central Victoria has fallen by more than 4 per cent in the past year.
The latest figures from Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency show there were 82,834 offences recorded in the Western region in the year to June 2018, compared to 86,811 the previous year.
But the good news does not extend to all municipalities in central Victoria, with four recording increases in the number of offences.
The largest increase was seen in Buloke Shire, where there was a 39.5 per cent rise in recorded offences from 2017 to 2018.
This saw the rate of offences per 100,000 people rocket from 2877.6 in 2017 to 4061.9 in 2018.
Central Goldfields Shire also experienced a significant growth in offences with a 30.2 per cent increase.
Campaspe and Loddon shires saw small rises, at 0.8 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.
The new figures show Central Goldfields Shire now experiences the highest rate of crime in central Victoria, with 12,174.2 offences recorded per 100,000 people.
Despite its significant growth in offences, the rate of crime in Buloke Shire remains the lowest in central Victoria.
Bendigo’s offence rate has fallen from 9295.3 offences per 100,000 people in June 2017, to 8411.5 this year.
Spotlight on Mount Alexander Shire
Much of Mount Alexander Shire’s decrease in the number of offences can be attributed to drops in the numbers of property and deception offences and justice procedures offences.
Property and deception offences fell by 32.4 per cent, with significant decreases in the number of burglaries and break-ins, and property damage offences.
Among crimes against the person, there were falls in the number of stalking and harassment offences and assaults, although there were rises in sexual offences and dangerous and negligent acts.
There was a very slight increase in drug offences, most of which were for drug use and possession.
The shire has seen a notable decrease in the offence rate year to year, from 6619.4 per 100,000 people last year to 4505.8 this year.
Spotlight on Campaspe Shire
There was a slight increase in the number of crimes in Campaspe between 2017 and 2018, most of which can be attributed to a rise in justice procedures offences.
Crimes against the person, property and deception offences, and public order and security offences all fell.
Drug offences rose by 25.6 per cent, most being drug use and possession.
Campaspe Shire’s offence rate at June 2018 was 9513.8 per 100,000 people, up from 9457.3 in 2017.
Spotlight on Central Goldfields Shire
Central Goldfields Shire saw increases across all categories of crimes between 2017 and 2018.
The greatest proportional rise was in drug offences, which grew by 91 per cent.
Among the property and deception offences, the numbers of thefts and arson offences more than doubled, but property damage offences and burglaries and break-ins fell.
The shire also experienced an increase in assaults and sexual offences.
The offence rate in 2018 was 12,174.2 offences per 100,000 people, compared to 9393.4 the previous year.
Spotlight on Macedon Ranges Shire
Macedon Ranges Shire had a drop in the number of overall offences, with justice procedures offences the only category for which there was an increase.
Reports of sexual offences fell 39.6 per cent, while assaults had a decrease of 4.8 per cent.
Overall, property and deception offences fell, but there was a 7.3 per increase in the number of thefts.
Macedon Ranges’ offence rate has fallen from 5214.9 per 100,000 people to 4834.5 in a year.
Spotlight on Loddon Shire
The number of offences in Loddon Shire remained relatively steady, with an increase of just two extra crimes reported in 2018 compared to the year before.
The shire experienced a decrease in crimes against the person, drug offences and justice procedures offences.
There was a 5.7 per cent rise in property and deception offences, with a 36 per cent increase in burglaries and break-ins.
The rate of offences has grown from 5476.3 per 100,000 people to 5510.6.
Spotlight on Gannawarra Shire
Overall, crime fell in Gannawarra, but there was an increase in crimes against the person.
The number of assaults remained steady, but sexual crimes grew, as did dangerous and negligent acts.
Proportionally, drug offences fell the most dramatically, with a 56.8 per cent drop.
The rate of offences fell from 6276.6 per 100,000 in 2017 to 5387.6 this year.
Spotlight on Buloke Shire
Buloke Shire experienced a significant increase in the number of recorded offences year to year, with property and deception offences rising by almost 76 per cent.
Most of the increase in this offence category can be attributed to reports of theft, which jumped from 37 in June 2017 to 64 in 2018.
Overall, crimes against the person remained steady.
Reports of sexual offences rose by a third from 2017 to 2018, but assaults fell from 29 to 20.
In June 2018, the offence rate in the shire was 4061.9 per 100,000 people.
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