Crime levels in St Albans increased a staggering 17.1 per cent in the 12 months to December, 2016, driven by rises in theft and drug-related crime.
According to the state crime statistic agency, theft offences in the suburb rose by 13.6 per cent last year, with nearly 200 additional cases. Drug trafficking rose by 21 per cent, while drug manufacture increased from 22 cases to 30, a rise of 36.4 per cent.
Brimbank local area commander Dallas Normington said the area remained a concern for police.
“We are all aware of the increases [of reported crime] in St Albans and it is a definite focus for us,” Inspector Normington said.
“We have had a number of saturation-style operations in the area, which have resulted in processing large numbers of offenders.
“We’re having constant discussions with local council, retailers, community groups and representatives to help our efforts, and hopefully residents are seeing us out there more.”
The news was better for Sunshine, which experienced a reduction in crime of 13.9 per cent in 2016.
Offence numbers decreased in 12 of the 19 crime categories reported for the suburb, with drug trafficking numbers more than halved and property and deception offences down 17.7 per cent.
“It’s been a fantastic result for us in Sunshine,” Inspector Normington said.
“It’s the end product of a number of things, like targeted patrols and greater community involvement. We’ve been pro-active in the area and working to be preventative.”
Overall, crime in Brimbank remains steady compared with state averages, with a 0.1 per cent rise comparing favourably with the statewide increase of 10.2 per cent.
“We’re always keen to see a reduction in crime, but it is pleasing to be steady compared to statewide averages,” Inspector Normington said.
“We’re seeing the benefits across our division broadly.”
Across Brimbank there was a 28.1 per cent increase in robbery offences, but a 10.1 per cent drop in drug-related crime.
“It’s [robbery] something we’ve got a focus on at the moment and we’re putting more resources on it,” Inspector Normington said.
“Putting an increased police presence around public transport, where a lot of robbery offences occur, has seen arrest numbers go up.
“Drug-related crime is an ongoing focus for us and we need to remain on that. By targeting recidivist offenders, we’ve certainly made an impact in that area.”