Within the past 12 months, crime in the Cardinia shire has jumped by more than 15 percent, latest statistics revealed.
For the year ending March 2020, more than 5313 recorded crimes occurred throughout the shire, an increase on the year before, which logged a total of 4612.
By comparison, the Casey region experienced a whopping 17,338 criminal incidents, a six percent rise from the same time the year before.
Pakenham recorded the highest number of criminal incidents within Cardinia, 2099, compared to Officer which tallied a total of 629.
Neighbouring suburb Berwick recorded 2028, while Beaconsfield reported 303, Emerald 189 and Kooweerup 167.
Out of those criminal incidents, more than half remain unsolved; police laying charges on 33 percent while 16 percent saw no charges laid as of yet.
Thefts from vehicle incidents saw the biggest increase over the past year, sitting at a total of 628 from 486 last year – a 14.5 percent rise from recorded incidents in 2019.
Assault incidents were also up from last year at 564, compared to 509 – an 11 percent increase.
The statistics showed an increase of criminal damage offences which sat at 518, other theft 483 and breaches of family violence orders at 417.
The data showed there was a large 18 percent upsurge of family violence incidents within the Cardinia shire.
Last year there were 1245 family violence incidents, whereas this year totalled 1466.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said the spike in family violence offences was “not a surprise” due to people being more likely to report it and police taking it ever more seriously
“But we need to ensure women and children are safe in their homes,” she said.
More than half of reported assaults were family-related, a state-wide spike in homicides were also largely due to “family violence murders”.
Victoria Police’s Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said proactive policing took a hit during summer, due to police being redeployed to support the East Gippsland bushfire ‘state of emergency’.
He said the crime surge was driven by theft, burglaries, property damage, drug possession and breaches of family violence orders.
Some of that rise was attributed to the greater ease of reporting crime, either via the relatively new Police Assistance Line or online.
Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said the new crime figures were “alarming” and acknowledged that more work needed to be done.
“Today’s alarming figures in Casey and Cardinia is the result of a government and premier who has been more focused on Labor Party branch stacking than protecting Victorians,” he said.
“Maybe if the government used their resources since 2014 on proactive measures to combat crime instead of allegedly using them for Labor Party activities we would be talking about a reduction in numbers today.
“Casey and Cardinia residents deserve better. Families have enough to worry about at the moment with Covid-19 they should not have to worry about safety in their own home.”