By Casey Neill
Lawbreakers under pressure as police clean up the streets…
Crime is dropping in Greater Dandenong, bucking the state-wide upward trend.
Overall crime in the police service area dropped 0.9 per cent in the year to 31 March compared to the previous 12 months.
Crime across Victoria rose 4 per cent.
The latest Crime Statistics Agency figures, released on Thursday 15 June, showed the crime rate per 100,000 population rose 2.5 per cent across Victoria.
In Greater Dandenong, this rate dropped by 2.8 per cent.
“That drops us out of the top five in the state,” Greater Dandenong Local Area Commander Inspector Mark Langhorn told the Journal.
“It gives a good indicator of the crime rate in terms of your chances of being a victim.”
He said the crime was down 5.5 per cent in Springvale and 5.1 per cent in Dandenong, from 12,600-odd offences to 12,012.
“Keysborough and Noble Park saw some increases, but not the same volume of offences,” he said.
“It’s pleasing to see it tracking in the right direction overall.”
Insp Langhorn was particularly pleased with the 5 per cent drop in thefts in Greater Dandenong, from 6876 offences to 6530.
This was in contrast to the state-wide 9.3 per cent increase.
However, burglary and break-and-enter offences increased 20.1 per cent from 1627 to 1954.
“Dandenong South, for me, is still a focus area,” he said.
“We have extra police in there. That’s what can be driving some of those figures.
“Residential burglaries are still an issue for me.
“We tend to look at our recidivist offenders, known offenders, bail curfew checks, trying to use our powers under the bail act.
“We’re trying to target the person rather than just a location.”
Insp Langhorn acknowledged a 28.7 per cent increase in robberies, from 171 to 220 – above the state-wide 19.6 per cent jump.
But he said that “in current data that I’m looking at, we’re actually seeing a downward trend”.
“Robbery and assault are still a major focus for us,” he said.
Assault rose 23.1 per cent in Greater Dandenong during the 12 months to 31 March, from 1587 to 1953. Across Victoria the increase was 7.9 per cent.
Insp Langhorn said police were having a positive impact on family violence offending in Greater Dandenong.
The number of incidents recorded rose 15.7 per cent, from 2204 to 2551. The increase per 100,000 people was 13.5 per cent.
Drug dealing and trafficking offences dropped by 31 to 180.
There was also a drop in drug cultivating and manufacturing, but this was in line with the see-saw trend over recent years, from 44 in 2013 to 85, 47 and 85 in subsequent years to 54 in 2017.
Drug use and possession offences were up by 17.2 per cent from 1041 to 1220.
“We’ve got a lot of enforcement in that area,” Insp Langhorn said.
“Use and possession is usually detected in a street stop.
“What that shows to me is there’s a lot of street policing activity.”