Thefts hit new high

By Jessica Micallef

Theft offences across the Macedon Ranges have hit a 10 year high, new figures reveal.

The latest data from the Crime Statistics Agency reveals thefts increased from 599 offences to 826 in the 12 months to the end of March – an increase of 37 per cent.

Macedon Ranges Police Inspector Chris Large said police were aware of the upward trend.

“In relation to theft, we have had a spike and what we have noticed in those numbers, is we had a really low year in 2018 and then we’ve gone up again to numbers consistent with 2016 and 2017.

“Around January, we noticed a spike of theft in the Gisborne and Bullengarook areas.”

According to the agency, property and deception offences – including arson, property damage, burglary and breaking and entering, theft and deception have risen 30 per cent (from 1050 reported offences to 1369) in the year to March, 2019.

Inspector Large said the spike in deception offences (115 compared to 60) was in relation to “good work being done by police”.

Drug offences, which include drug dealing and trafficking, cultivate or manufacture drugs, drug use and possession, and other drug offences, rose by more than 20 per cent (from 112 to 136) in the same time.

“Over the last couple of months, we have had a strong focus on knowing where the high levels of drug action were,” Inspector Large said last week.

“We had a community forum last week in Gisborne and what we’re focusing on is making sure we are visible to the community, with a particular focus over the next three months.

“We’re also focusing not so much about the crime but about the people who are committing the crime.”

Offences including blackmail and extortion, robbery and homicide and related offences remained steady in the year to March, 2019.

In Hume, drug offences have also hit a 10-year high, with 1513 reported offences recorded in the year to March, 2019, compared to 1088 the previous year – a rise of nearly 40 per cent.

Crimes against the person, including homicide, assault, sexual offences, robbery, stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour, blackmail and extortion, abduction and dangerous and negligent acts rose by nearly 11 per cent (3042 reported offences to 3376) in the year to March, 2019, compared to the previous year.