Yarrawonga bucks drug increase trend

28 Jun 2017 • Yarrawonga Chronicle, Yarrawonga VIC (General News)
by Fiona Blick

Yarrawonga recorded a 72.7% decrease in drug dealing and trafficking, according to the latest Victoria crime statistics, bucking the Moira Shire trend which saw this same offence rise by 85.7%.

The Crime Statistics Agency recently released its crime report for Victoria for the year ending March 31, 2017 which showed overall crimes recorded state-wide by Victoria Police were up by 4% compared to the same period last year.

The five Local Government Areas with the highest offence rates were Melbourne (25,325.9 offences per 100,000 estimated resident population, down 0.8%), Latrobe (19,631.8 offences per 100,000 estimated resident population, up 7.0%), Yarra (14,527.3 offences per 100,000 estimated resident population, down 1.8%), Ararat (13,662.3 offences per 100,000 estimated resident population, up 11.6%) and Greater Shepparton (13,150.4 offences per 100,000 estimated resident population, up 6.3%).

For Moira Shire sexual offences skyrocketed, from 75 the previous year to 238 in the past twelve months, an increase of 217.3%. Drug dealing and trafficking offences went from 21 last year to 39 in 2017 however drug use and possession decreased from 146 in 2016 to 104 this year.

Theft offences also rose in Moira Shire going from 337 recorded thefts last year to 468 in 2017, a rise of 38.9%. Yarrawonga’s crime breakdown differs from the Moira Shire average, particularly in drug offences where every sub-category recorded a decline: drug dealing and trafficking -72.7%; cultivate or manufacture drugs -50%; and drug use and possession -19.4%.

However, property and deception offences in Yarrawonga increased markedly particularly deception, going from 11 in 2016 to 30 in 2017, an increase of 172.7%.

Burglaries also increased by 64.7% (34 in 2016 rising to 56 in 2017) and arson offences rose 250% going from 4 cases last year to 14 in 2017. Crime Statistics Agency Chief Statistician Fiona Dowsley said for the first time in recent years, the family incident rate is beginning to stabilise in Victoria.

“In the last 12 months the rate of family incidents in Victoria increased by 0.1%, compared to the previous year when the rate increased by 8%,” Ms Dowsley said. “In many local areas across the state we have seen reductions in family incident rates. “Out of the 79 Local Government Areas across Victoria, almost half of them (43%) showed decreases family incident rates in the last 12 months.”

According to Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy the new figures released by the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency showed crime across the Moira region increased 41.95% since 2010.

“Offenders have been emboldened by the Andrews Labor Government’s watered-down bail laws, weakened sentencing and no increase in frontline police,” Mr McCurdy said. Mr McCurdy said concerns regarding the rising crime rate would be discussed at a law and order community forum being held in Wangaratta on July 31.

“Ovens Valley residents have a right to feel safe in their homes and on the streets,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Our laws and justice system must reflect that community expectation and local people will have the opportunity to raise their concerns at the forum.

“We cannot simply stand by while the lifestyle we enjoy in this region is threatened by increasing levels of crime.” The Law and Order Community Forum will be held on Monday, July 31 at the Wangaratta Turf Club from 7-9pm.

Speakers include Shadow Minister for Community Safety Edward O’Donohue, Shadow Attorney General John Pesutto and Tania Maxwell, co-founder of the Enough is Enough campaign.

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