Keysy on crime vigil


By Sahar Foladi

Multiple frightening videos on social media show youths roaming for unlocked cars and houses in Keysborough on Tuesday 13 June.

Burglaries and break-ins in Keysborough has risen a staggering 62 per cent in the 12 months up to March 2023 according to recent Crime Statistics Agency data.

Home camera footage has been circulating on a community Facebook page warning others to be vigilant.

The youth unfortunately found an unlocked car after a hunt.

The resident posted, “Hey everyone two maybe three males checking for unlocked car doors about 1am.

“Lock up!! Police has been informed they are most likely still checking cars in every street!!!”

The resident said she usually locks her car, this time however, it was unlocked and commented it was a “silly mistake.”

Greater Dandenong Crime Investigation Unit detectives are investigating an aggravated burglary in Keysborough, a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

“It is understood offenders attended an address on Suttie Court and entered a vehicle about 12.30am, before removing the garage remote from it and entering the garage.

“There were no injuries.”

Police are investigating whether the incident is linked to other break-ins across Keysborough.

Crimes such as theft and residential non-aggravated burglaries have decreased in the suburb from 2018 pre-Covid levels.

However, aggravated home burglaries have risen 54 per cent compared to 2018 in Keysborough.

City of Greater Dandenong councillor, Rhonda Garad, brought forward the residents’ concerns in the last council meeting on Monday 5 June.

She said the residents are deeply frightened and kids are left traumatised.

“I have met with over 20 residents who have been subject to extreme and persistent crime, with over 10 houses broken into in a three-week period.

“Three of those were aggravated burglaries, one resident was carjacked, and then run over.”

Cr Garad urged the council to approach Victoria Police to put to rest some of the resident’s concerns.

City of Greater Dandenong chief executive officer, Jacqui Weatherill held a meeting with Victoria Police to discuss the pressing issue and said she will let Councillors know of the outcome.

“Kudos to our CEO. We don’t have direct police powers, but we are the voice of the people,” Cr Garad said.

The meeting resulted in multiple police measures taken in the area including night patrols.

“I can see the residents are having constructive ongoing conversations with Victoria Police, so that’s of some comfort,” Cr Garad said.

“I strongly advocated for everyone to get this issue addressed, as a council when residents are concerned so are we.”

Greater Dandenong saw a steep rise in crime from 2022, up by 18.6 per cent per capita according to the Crime Statistics data and a 40 per cent rise in burglary.

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.”

More than 200 burglars have been arrested immediately in three months as a result, according to Victoria Police spokesperson.

“On top of this, another 522 people have been arrested during the night-time operation for other offences, including drug related matters, due to the sheer number of police out each night.

“In the three months prior to the enhanced police response commencing, there was a weekly average of around 30 burglaries that also led to a car being stolen.

“In the past three months, this weekly average has dropped to 19 such incidents per week”.

Motor vehicle theft in Greater Dandenong has increased by 48 per cent since 2022 – 61 per cent in Keysborough, 25 per cent in Noble Park, a staggering 81 per cent in Springvale and 44 per cent in Dandenong.

However, overall criminal offences have dropped by 14 per cent post-Covid in Keysborough and four per cent in Noble Park while Springvale has bumped up to 33 per cent increase and Dandenong up by 20 per cent.

Dawn Vernon, ex-president, and current member of Greater Dandenong Neighbourhood Watch, strongly advises residents not to leave any valuable items overnight in their car and to ensure it’s locked.

“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.

“Burglars will open the door, grab the handbag, take off and you’ve lost your bag. So that’s another important thing to remember,” she said.

Ms Vernon urges residents to buy a house camera, automatic front porch light and car alarm, so residents can be notified immediately of the activity.