The total number of crimes recorded in Greater Bendigo fell by almost six per cent in the year to September, the latest data shows.
Crime Statistics Agency figures released on Thursday show a total of 10,955 offences were recorded in Greater Bendigo in the year to September, a 5.6 per cent decrease on the 11,600 recorded the previous year.
The total number of criminal incidents - that is, events where one or more individual offences were committed - dropped by 6.4 per cent.
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This goes against the statewide trend, with Victoria overall seeing more criminal incidents and individual offences this year than last.
But while the number of crimes logged by police in Greater Bendigo fell from the previous year, the rate of offences compared to population was the third-highest the area had seen in the past 10 years, behind 2019 and 2016.
The rate of offences also remained above the Victorian average, sitting at 9130 per 100,000 people compared to 8227.
The introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 drove a huge jump in the number of public health and safety offences - there were 258 to September, up from just four the previous year.
Breaches of family violence orders were the most common type of offence committed in the City of Greater Bendigo, followed by criminal damage, 'other theft', theft from a motor vehicle, and home burglaries.
The data shows 455 burglaries of homes occurred in the year to September, where an occupant was not present at the time, a slight increase on the rate of such crimes the previous year.
There was also a slight increase in the number and rate of aggravated residential burglaries; that is, burglaries where someone was home at the time.
But the rates of burglaries on non-residential premises dropped substantially.
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The rates of family violence assaults dropped, but the rates of assaults outside family settings grew.
There were 176 serious, non family violence-related assaults this year, an increase of almost 11 percent, while the number of common assaults rose by more than 20 per cent.
There were six homicides and related offences, the same as the previous year.
But there were fewer sexual offences recorded, the rate falling from 355.7 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 298.4 this year.
The rate of vehicle thefts dropped from 2019 to 2020, but thefts from vehicles rose.
Drug offences also increased, mostly possession.
Mount Alexander Shire
Mount Alexander Shire also saw decreases in the rates of individual offences and criminal incidents between 2019 and 2020.
The total number of offences dropped by 14 per cent, and the shire's crime rate remains well below the state average, coming out at 5030.8 per 100,000 people in the year to September.
'Other theft' was the most common type of offence in Mount Alexander, followed by breaching family violence orders, criminal damage, drug possession, and theft from a vehicle.
Some of the most significant increases were in the numbers of firearms offences (up to 18, from five in 2019), and public health and safety offences .
But there was a significant drop in sexual offences and non-residential burglaries.
Central Goldfields Shire
Another municipality to see crime rates fall was Central Goldfields Shire.
Its rate of offences fell from more than 10,169 per 100,000 people, to 8981.9.
Breaches of family violence orders, criminal damage and 'other theft' were the most common offence types, although the numbers of these were down from 2019.
Drug possession and common assault were also among the most common offences, and these had increased from the previous year.
The municipality saw the rates of sexual offences and harassment drop significantly.
Serious family violence assaults also decreased, but the rate of family violence-related common assaults rose.
There were also fewer burglaries of homes and businesses.
Campaspe Shire's crime rates also decreased from 2019 to 2020, although they remain above the state averages.
Sexual offences were the most common subgroup of crimes in 2020, the rate jumping from 380.1 per 100,000 people last year to 1615.5 this year.
Breaching family violence orders and property offences were among the other most common crimes.
However, theft rates fell, as did drug offence rates.
The rates of criminal incidents and offences rose in Loddon Shire, in line with the statewide trend.
The shire saw the number of offences rise by five per cent between 2019 and 2020, while there were 2.2 per cent more criminal incidents this year than last.
However, the shire's crime rates remain below the state averages.
There was an increase in the number of breaches of family violence intervention orders, which were the most common type of offence.
Public health and safety offences were among the top five most common offences, with 29 recorded to September 2020, a result of the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.
This represented an increase in the rate of such offences from 13.3 per 100,000 to 387.2.
The rates of assaults - except against emergency service workers - increased, but sexual offences fell.
There were fewer burglaries in 2020 than the previous year.
Macedon Ranges Shire
Macedon Ranges Shire also saw its crime rates increase from 2019 to 2020, although they too remain below the Victorian averages.
Family violence order breaches, 'other theft', drug possession, public health and safety offences, and criminal damage made up the five most common offence types.
The rate of drug offences almost doubled, mostly due to drug possession, which rose from 179.2 per 100,000 people to 376.2.
Rates of various theft offences fell, as did burglary rates.
There were more assaults on emergency workers in the year to September 2020 than the previous year, and more family violence-related assaults, both serious and 'common'.
Crimes rates increased significantly in Buloke Shire, where there was a 66.9 per cent increase in the number of individual offences recorded.
Drug possession was the most common type of crime, and the rate of it rose from 702.2 per 100,000 people last year, to 1364.2 this year.
'Other theft', theft from a motor vehicle, criminal damage and breaches of family violence intervention orders were the other most common offences.
The shire also saw an increase in rates of assaults, both those that were family violence-related and those that were not.
The rate of non-aggravated residential burglaries more than tripled.
There were less pronounced increases in the crime rates in Gannawarra Shire than some other munipalities in central Victoria.
Like some other areas, breaches of family violence orders were the most common offence type, although the number of these fell from 2019 to 2020.
Common assaults related to family violence fell, but the number of serious family violence assaults rose from 17 to 25.
There were slightly fewer break-ins in the shire in 2020 than 2019, and most theft offences also dropped, although there were more thefts from shops.
The rate of drug offences jumped from 382 per 100,000 people to 660.1, with possession being the most common drug crime.
The rate of drug cultivation also rose, from 19.1 per 100,000 people to 76.5 - two offences to eight.
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