Ranges crime rates up

By Jessica Micallef

Theft offences in the Macedon Ranges have hit a 10-year high, as overall crime levels in the region rise, new figures reveal.

The latest data from the Crime Statistics Agency reveals theft offences have risen 18.3 per cent (from 617 reported offences to 730) in the year to December, 2018. There were 421 theft offences reported in the year to December, 2009, when the data was first collected.

Total crime across the Macedon Ranges rose nearly nine per cent in the year to December, 2018, compared to the previous year. Property and deception offences – including arson, property damage, burglary and breaking and entering, theft and deception – rose by 13 per cent (from 1018 to 1223) in the same time.

Macedon Ranges Inspector Chris Large said the police were engaging with residents to help put a stop to crime, in particular theft.

“That ranges from thefts of cars, which can include number plates,” he said. “Theft of petrol is significantly up, as is shoplifting and also burglaries on rural properties.

“We’ve also run community forums in each town in the Macedon Ranges to talk about how to prevent themselves from being victims of crime.”

Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour offences dropped by 30 per cent (66 reported offences to 95) in the year to December, 2018, compared to the previous year.

Drug offences, including drug dealing and trafficking, cultivating or manufacturing drugs and drug use and possession – rose by nearly 12 per cent (from 117 to 137).

“We’re always doing more drug road-side tests – it’s something that we focus on,” Inspector Large said.

He said police were also executing more drug warrants.

Offences including robbery, blackmail and extortion and homicide and related offences remained steady in the year to December, 2018.