CRIME DECLINE: Burgs, break-ins, thefts, assaults, drug offences down

18 Jun 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Freyja Postlethwaite WANGARATTAS crime rate has continued to decline, according to figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) last week. Statistics released by the CSA show crime in Wangaratta has decreased 7.6 per cent overall in the period ending March this year. It continues a downward trend from the year ending March, 2017 when the rural city experienced a 1.7 per cent decline. Burglaries and break and enter offences experienced the largest reduction over the last 12 months when compared to the same period the year before by 28.8 per cent. Theft has reduced 8.2 per cent and assault and related offences have dropped by 5.1 per cent. The figures show drug offences have also decreased by 6 per cent. However, the number of sexual offences did not change in the year ending March from that in the same period the previous year. Sexual assault figures are based on when an incident is reported, not committed. Although it is pleasing to see the overall decrease in crime, Inspector Kerrie Hicks of Wangaratta Police has adopted a continuous improvement approach as there are always means to do better. The statistics highlight the Rural City of Wangaratta is not only a beautiful place, but a safe place to live, she said. It is critical that members of the community not only are safe, but that they feel safe, and I am always interested in ways we can do it better. Whilst we are seeing really positive improvements, I know we can do better prevention and early intervention is essential and it is underpinned by intelligence led policing. We encourage people who know something to say something. Inspector Hicks said both the community and the police had a role to play in maintaining a decline in Wangarattas crime rate and ensuring residents can feel safe. Its terrific to see a reduction in theft and burglary, but these are crime categories we cant be complacent with, she said. We need the community to continue to lock their doors and ensure we dont leave valuables within view. We still see an increase in the reporting of family violence which is pleasing to see because it indicates our community is increasing its confidence in reporting to police and that our processes are improving. This is a complex crime category, which includes elder abuse, and we still have a lot to learn as a community and as an organisation about how we can improve. Crime prevention fact sheets are available at ID=9539. Anyone with information about an offence should make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers at 1800 333 000 or on their website, Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said Wangaratta police officers were working hard to target important issues including burglaries and theft, which was reflected in the latest statistics. More police in Wangaratta will mean more police patrolling the streets and more police employed in specialist roles to prevent crime and prosecute offenders with more to come over the coming years, she said. Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) said if he is re-elected at this years state election, he and the Nationals will get tougher on criminals to maintain a decrease in crime and keep residents safe. Wangaratta police have worked extremely hard to clean up many local drug and alcohol issues and their good work is reflected in the figures released this week, he said.