Lockdowns halt crime

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Covid restrictions have continued to help reduce overall crime in Greater Dandenong and the rest of Victoria, according to Victoria Police.

Recorded offences dropped 14 per cent in Greater Dandenong in the year up to September 2021, according to official crime stats released on 14 December.

The calm was recorded across all suburbs, except for an 80 per cent rise in Dandenong South.

One of the biggest drops was in public health order breaches (down from 1835 offences to 486) – with police enforcement of Covid restrictions peaking last year.

Bike theft, which massively spiked in 2020, was back to 2019 levels.

Also significantly down was car theft (down 21 per cent), theft from cars (20 per cent) and aggravated home burglaries (8 per cent) – which were attributed to people being locked-down at home.

Bail breaches (44 per cent), dangerous driving (30 per cent), sexual offences (13 per cent) and drug offences (26 per cent) also dropped.

The latter fall was due to licensed and entertainment venues being shut due to Covid restrictions, Victoria Police stated.

On the rise were thefts other than cars, retail and bikes (up 42 per cent) and graffiti (80 per cent).

Paradoxically, home non-aggravated burglaries were also up 11 per cent despite residents spending more time at home during lockdowns. It was still much lower than 2019 levels.

Family violence assaults were steady but comprised more than half of total assaults.

Victoria Police was particularly concerned by breaches of family-violence intervention orders, up 11 per cent to 1758 in Greater Dandenong.

“Heading into the Christmas and New Year period, which is traditionally a worrying time for family violence, Victoria Police is retaining its focus on proactively monitoring and engaging with members of the community who are subject to family violence orders,” it stated.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said the overall drop in crime and victims was “really pleasing” though acknowledging Covid restrictions were a factor.

“As we move into the festive season and head into the new year, every Victoria Police officer will be doing everything in their power to keep the crime rate low and community safe.

“This will be achieved through a number of ongoing state-wide and local operations to detect and deter crime before it can occur, monitor known persons of interest before they offend, and bring those who commit crimes before the courts.”

Dep Comm Nugent reminded drivers to travel safely and holidayers to secure their property from would-be thieves.