Burglary spree shocker


by Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong’s official crime rate has soared by 21 per cent, with a massive spike in car thefts and burglaries.

It was far above the statewide crime rate rise of 5.7 per cent.

According to Crime Statistics Agency data, criminal offences were up across all Greater Dandenong suburbs in the 2022-’23 financial year.

Springvale (up 37 per cent), Dandenong North (27 per cent) and Noble Park (27 per cent) had the greatest rises.

Meanwhile aggravated home burglaries soared by 78 per cent and non-aggravated by 58 per cent.

Burglaries of non-homes, such as businesses, were up 65 per cent.

Car thefts jumped by 72 per cent, and the most common crime – thefts from motor vehicles – was up 35 per cent.

Shoplifting (up 44 per cent), arson (43 per cent) and dangerous driving (which doubled) were other notable risers.

Family violence incidents were up 5 per cent.

Victoria Police’s Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said crime in Victoria had increased from the pandemic years but was still 1.4 per cent below pre-Covid levels.

“While this is positive, there are a number of areas of concern that Victoria Police will continue to focus on, including youth crime, home burglaries, car thefts, and firearm related violence.”

CSA data shows Greater Dandenong’s aggravated home burglaries and car thefts are well higher than pre-Covid levels.

According to police, the rise in those offences was driven by youth offenders targeting unlocked homes to steal car keys and luxury vehicles.

In Greater Dandenong, youth offenders aged 10-24 years were up 8.8 per cent – about the same as across the state. But 10-17 year old offenders in Greater Dandenong were up 20 per cent.

Dep Comm Paterson said police had made “significant strides” in reducing the spate of burglaries and car thefts.

“Since Operation Trinity commenced in March, there has been over 1,600 arrests and a 40 per cent decrease in this type of offending.

“This operation will continue every evening until dawn, targeting those seeking to sneak into homes while people are home.”

He said police were applying “extreme pressure to our most serious and violent youth offenders under Operation Alliance”.

“|In three years, we have managed to decrease the number of known youth gang members in Victoria by almost 20 per cent.

“However there remains a core group of around 290 recidivist youth offenders’ who are the main challenge.”

The most common shoplifted items across Victoria were liquor, groceries and clothes, which may be due to cost-of-living pressures, police say.

About a quarter of shoplifters were first-time adult offenders.