Crime rate soars 18%


By Sahar Foladi

City of Greater Dandenong’s crime rate has soared by 18.6 per cent per capita according to the recent Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) data.

The data released on 14 June recorded numbers of crimes from March 2022 to March 2023 and displayed shocking numbers for some suburbs within the municipality.

Some of the top crimes across Greater Dandenong were burglary/break-ins up 40.5 per cent, residential aggravated burglaries (47 per cent), non-aggravated burglaries (33 per cent), theft (22.9 per cent), drug use and possession (56 per cent) and prohibited weapons (23 per cent).

CSA chief executive officer, Fiona Dowsley said “the upward trends observed in recorded crime measures in the last 12 months coincide with a return to pre-pandemic related movements in the community.

“While there has been an increase in recorded crime measures for the year ending 31 March 2023 the figures remain below those recorded in 2019.”

Residential aggravated burglary is in an upward trend across all of the suburbs in Greater Dandenong with a staggering 62 per cent in Keysborough, Noble Park (45.8 per cent), Springvale (40 per cent) and Dandenong (10 per cent).

Cardinia saw a 6.5 per cent rise in crime, Frankston (14.4 per cent), Casey (9.4 per cent) with a 54.3 per cent increase in residential aggravated burglary since 2022.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said aggravated car burglaries and associated car thefts have increased tremendously post pandemic nation-wide.

“This has been driven by predominantly youth offenders targeting unlocked homes, with the intention of stealing keys for vehicles.

“Local police from Southern Metro, North West Metro and inner eastern Melbourne are teaming up as part of the ongoing metropolitan wide operation.

“Specialist police units, including Air Wing, Dog Squad, and Public Order Response Team, assist on a nightly basis in tracking the movements of offenders.”

Car theft in Springvale is up by 81 per cent and stealing from a car up 42 per cent, followed by car theft in Keysborough up 61 per cent with a 3 per cent increase in stealing from a car.

Dandenong car thefts rose 29.7 per cent and Noble Park up 25 per cent, with 30 per cent stealing from a car.

Neighbourhood Watch ex-president and current member, Dawn Vernon advised communities not to leave valuable items in their cars and to keep it locked at all times.

“People will break-in just for a few dollars.

“Also, it’s equally important for people to lock their cars while driving because while they wait at the lights, a lot of people can be robbed,” she said.

Theft is also on the rise with 14 per cent increase in Dandenong since 2022, 31 per cent in Noble Park, 11 per cent in Keysborough and an astounding 59 per cent in Springvale.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said, there are simple routines that people can do to protect themselves including “making it a nightly routine to lock doors, especially internal doors that lead to garages, parking vehicles in a secure garage, and ensuring keys aren’t easily accessible”.

“We continue to urge residents in all areas to consider remember to secure their homes and vehicles.”

In conjunction to that, Springvale has seen 87 per cent rise in drugs use and possession since 2022 which is an increase of 110 per cent from pre-Covid levels.

Meanwhile, Greater Dandenong drug use and possession is up 6.3 per cent from pre-Covid levels (up 56 per cent in the past 12 months), Noble Park (40 per cent) Dandenong (25 per cent) and Keysborough (20 per cent).

While criminal offence numbers have increased since 2022, criminal offences compared to pre-Covid levels has dropped in Noble Park by 25 per cent and Keysborough (14 per cent).

Springvale has bumped up with 33 per cent more criminal offences since 2018 levels followed by Dandenong (20 per cent).

While the burglary break-in for Greater Dandenong is up 40.5 per cent in the past year, this is 20 per cent lower than in 2018. In Dandenong, burglaries are down 16 per cent from 2018, Noble Park (-20 per cent), Keysborough (-33 per cent) with only 2 per cent decrease for Springvale.

There’s a shocking 36 per cent increase in prohibited weapons in Springvale since 2022 and 28 per cent in Noble Park – both higher than Greater Dandenong’s overall rise of 23 per cent.

Assaults are up 9 per cent in Greater Dandenong, including a 12.5 per cent rise in Noble Park and a decrease of seven per cent in Keysborough.

As a result of a Victoria Police crackdown on burglars, more than 200 have been arrested in three months of strict measures as part of the ongoing metropolitan wide operation.