Police operations targeting offenders after dark are showing results as Melton’s crime rates continue to fall.

Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency last Thursday revealed a 12 per cent fall in offences recorded in the year to December – 10,634 offences, down from 12,082.

A main driver behind the drop was a 16.6 per cent decrease in public order and security offences which included an 18.5 per cent decrease in theft offences (from 4499 to 3664), a 14.2 per cent drop in burglary and break and enter (1293 to 1109) and 41 per cent decline in arson offences (120 to 71). There was also a 30.5 per cent downturn in drug offences from 630 to 438. Drug dealing fell by 44 per cent while drug use and possession offences were down 27.3 per cent.

A recent spate of home invasions in Melton was reflected in the latest robbery figures which revealed a 10 per cent rise in aggravated robbery.

Melton tasking co-ordination Inspector Warren Green told

Star Weekly in September that police were running operations to specifically target “crime after dark”.

“We’ve seen a change in offending patterns with some of our offenders,” he said.

“They’re becoming more opportunistic … we have operations running at the moment to target those.

“We’d encourage people to be out with others when they’re going out at vulnerable times and … if something is not quite right, call the police so we can get someone down there.”

Despite the overall fall in Melton crime, crimes against the person increased slightly by 3.5 per cent. They included abduction and related offences up to 21 from 16. Blackmail also climbed from two offences to nine in the past year.

Meanwhile, Moorabool crime fell by 15.2 per cent, driven by a 21 per cent drop in property and deception offences, a 37 per cent decline in drug offences and a 22 per cent fall in justice procedures.

Data for Melton and Moorabool was on trend and police minister Lisa Neville praised the 10 per cent decrease statewide as being “the biggest drop in crime in 12 years”.

“With more police on the beat than ever before, the relentless work of Victoria Police is starting to make progress,” Ms Neville said.

But she said there were still too many victims.

“Saying crime is coming down in no way diminishes the harm, pain and fear many of those victims have suffered,” she said.

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