Drugs, weapons fill cops’ dragnet


New Crime Statistics Agency data reveals possession of drugs and weapons, along with stalking offences, are on the rise in Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges.

Figures released last week for the year to September 30 show drug use and possession crimes shot up significantly, from 78 the previous year to 178, while stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour crimes doubled from 23 to 46. Thefts and the breaking of intervention orders continued as major drivers of crime in the area, despite thefts declining from 627 to 535. Breaches of orders rose to 253 from 234.

Total offences overall in the Macedon Ranges increased by 3.3 per cent to 2208 in a year, Macedon Ranges’ Inspector Ryan Irwin said.

He said the figures showed drug policing operations were bearing fruit.

‘‘Although there has been a significant increase in drug crime, the data reflects some positive outcomes as a result of a focus on drug policing, particularly in Gisborne,’’ he said. “It’s the result of a lot of proactive work.

“Police are out there pulling cars over, checking them and finding this stuff. The other part is that, since the emergence of ice in the past couple of years, there’s been a real [drugs] focus.”

Inspector Irwin said the force remained dedicated to policing family violence.

“In focusing on that, we do often see a rise in stalking and harassment charges, which might have contributed to a spike in those figures,’’ he said.

Hume recorded a 49 per cent increase in weapons and explosives offences, from 577 to 860, making it the second highest in the state for weapons-related crime after Brimbank.

Breaches of intervention orders jumped 22 per cent, from 1988 to 2429, and thefts continued to grow, rising from 5855 to 6215.

Hume’s homicides fell by more than half, from 17 to six, in the year to last September 30.