A proliferation of home break-ins and car thefts fuelled a spike in Whittlesea’s crime rate last year, new data reveals.

Crime statistics for 2016 show the crime rate jumped 21.3 per cent from the previous year – the highest increase in the north west metropolitan area and double the state average.

Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) data recorded 17,031 offences in Whittlesea during 2016, up from 14.036 in 2015.

Inspector Paul Tysoe said a spike in residential burglaries, car thefts and stolen number plates contributed to the surge.

The city’s burglary rates rose 19.5 per cent while thefts soared by 42.2 per cent.

Inspector Tysoe said tackling home burglaries has been a challenge for police.

“We had difficulty establishing patterns, as it was widespread,” he said.

“Drugs were a significant factor there, but there were also organised elements as well. Recent statistics show … a decline.”

 

Whittlesea Inspector Paul Tysoe. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

Whittlesea Inspector Paul Tysoe. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

Inspector Tysoe said police had focused their attention on high volume crime, such as burglaries and vehicle thefts, as part of Operation Influx, which ran at Whittlesea and Darebin last year.

He said the operation, which was continuing this year, was helping to pinpoint the drivers of crime and also targeted recidivist offenders.

The CSA data shows a 12.8 per cent increase in assaults and related offences, while sexual offences were up 7.3 per cent.

However, the number of robberies recorded in Whittlesea fell for the first time since 2013, dropping 28 per cent.

Drug trafficking and dealing offences are also in decline, falling 10.6 per cent, while drug cultivation and manufacturing fell 7.9 per cent.

“The co-operation of the public working together with us has helped turn trends around,” Inspector Tysoe said.

Hume also recorded an above average increase (14.3 per cent) in overall crime. The city recorded a 29.2 per cent jump in thefts. Arson offences also more than doubled.