By Brendan Rees
The number of public nuisance offences has soared and overall crime in Casey is up, but police say they are working hard to keep the community safe.
Latest Crime Statistics Agency Victoria data showed crime in the City of Casey had increased 3.3 per cent with public nuisance offences rising to 43.8 per cent, up from 73 offences to 105.
The data also recorded a 5.6 per cent jump in burglaries in the year to June, increasing from 2432 offences to 2567.
Southern Metro Region Commander, Acting Superintendent Tom Nairn said police were pouring in efforts to reduce residential burglaries.
“We believe that any number is too high which is why we have dedicated operations focusing on this type of offending,” he said.
The figures also showed crimes against the person were also up 8.3 per cent from 3929 to 4254.
Acting Supt Nairn said the rise in assaults was primarily as a result of an increase in the reporting of family violence incidents.
“We believe this is partially due to increased confidence in police responses as well as an increase in community awareness and understanding that family violence is a crime,” he said.
Robberies in Casey were down 18.9 per cent which Acting Supt Nairn said was against a state-wide increase.
“We have seen commercial locations such as service stations, milk bars and restaurants targeted to obtain cash and cigarettes. Street robberies focusing on mobile phones have also been prevalent. It is pleasing to see that the combined efforts of the Southern Metro Region Crime Team and local operations by the Casey Crime Investigation Unit have impacted on the reduction of robberies.”
Acting Supt Nairn said a link between vehicle theft and aggravated burglary continued but added: “Rest assured we are not complacent.”
“Police across Casey will continue to work hard to prevent, deter and investigate and arrest offenders in order to keep the community safe. We want to see further decreases in the crime rate overall, with both crimes against the person and property as the major focus,” he said.
Among the victims of criminal damage was Cranbourne East resident Sharyn Murdoch, who was disgusted to find her car rear window smashed on the morning of Monday 2 October.
“Whether or not we were targeted or it was just somebody wanting to steal it and couldn’t get in so they smashed it, I don’t know,” she said.
Ms Murdoch said she had planned to sell her car, a Kio Rio hatch.
“It means we’ve now got to repair the window just to sell it,” adding “It’s disgusting. I hate vandals.”
State Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said home invasion and aggravated burglary were a major concern for local families where they would “not feel safe in your own home”.
Mr Battin said Premier Daniel Andrews had his “head in the sand” if he thought the crime statistics were positive.
“Enough is enough. People want more police, tougher sentences and better protection in their own homes,” Mr Battin said.
“A governments priority should be to protect the community, and Daniel Andrews has failed.”
Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera said while more work needed to be done, the State Government would provide Victoria Police with the resources and powers they need to keep the community safe.
“We have heard the Casey community’s concerns and have responded with a significant investment in new police and crime prevention funding for the area.
“The first 300 of our over 3135 new police will see 31 police allocated to the Casey PSA – which have already started to be deployed in these communities with more coming each month.
South Eastern Metro MP Inga Peulich slammed the State Government for a 34.33 per cent surge in crime in Casey since taking office in December 2014.
Ms Peulich said public crime statistics revealed a 6011 increase of offences reported in Casey since the election of the Andrews Labor Government.
“Daniel Andrews promised to smash the violent youth gangs running rampant across our state, but these statistics prove he hasn’t even made a dent,” Ms Peulich said.
“This isn’t just a crime wave, it is a crime tsunami. The culture of lawlessness in the City of Casey under Daniel Andrews must end.”
Police say the public can play their role in reducing crime such as locking their cars and not leaving tools visible in work vehicles and trailers when unattended. Also, locking home doors and keeping garages closed.
Anyone who sees suspicious behaviour should contact their local police or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 of via crimestoppersvic.com.au.