Robberies and assaults are on the rise in Whittlesea, forcing up the municipality’s crime rate.
Latest crime data from the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) revealed that in the 12 months to June, overall crime rose by close to 4 per cent in Whittlesea, with 16,095 offences recorded by police.
The municipality bucked a statewide trend, which saw crime rates fall.
Whittlesea also recorded a 6 per cent increase in family violence incidents, despite a drop in reports in Victoria’s 79 local government areas.
Inspector Andrew Falconer said the statistics showed there was work to be done.
He attributed some of the increase in the crime rate to police improving their response to family violence, but described the increases in robberies as “unacceptable”.
According to CSA, robberies increased by close to 30 per cent, driven by a rise in aggravated robberies.
In the 12 months to June, there were 81 aggravated robberies in Whittlesea, up from 62.
Inspector Falconer said police had recently created a serious crime taskforce to tackle robberies.
The statistics also reveal a 21 per cent increase in assaults, with 1334 offences recorded in the 12 months to June.
Family violence-related assaults accounted for more than half of the offences, with 333 incidents of family violence-related serious assaults and 542 family violence-related common assaults recorded.
There was also an increase in aggravated burglaries, with 70 incidents reported, up from 56 in the previous 12 months. However, overall burglary offences fell by 10 per cent.
Inspector Falconer said he was pleased to see a reduction in burglaries, given that it is the crime that worries local residents the most.
“We’re working harder than ever before to put recidivist burglars before the courts,” he said.
Community safety forum
A community safety forum will be held by police and Whittlesea council on Thursday, October 12, at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, from 7-9pm, to discuss residents concerns about safety.
The forum will cover topics such as family violence, alcohol and drugs, crime prevention and road safety.
Inspector Falconer said police know many residents were concerned about what is going on in the area in relation to safety.
“We also intend to clarify how we police issues and about some of the methods and programs we use to combat different areas of road policing,” he said.
Crime falling in Hume
In Hume, overall crime fell 3.2 per cent, driven by a drop in family violence, thefts and aggravated burglaries.
Inspector Anthony Brown said the decreases were the result of a boost in police numbers. An extra 21 police officers recently began working in Hume, with another 17 expected before the end of the year.