By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Casey’s crime rate has soared in 2016 on the back of huge surges in burglaries, thefts, arsons and assaults, according to official crime statistics.
According to the Crime Statistics Agency, reported offences in Casey went up 12.5 per cent on a per-capita basis (15 per cent on raw figures).
It was higher than the statewide per-capita crime-rate rise of 10.2 per cent.
Overall, there were more than 2200 assaults in 2016 – up 20.9 per cent, more than 2800 burglaries – up 31.5 per cent, and 8000-plus thefts – up 17.8 per cent.
Put another way, that’s more than 40 assaults, about 55 burglaries and about 150 thefts a week.
Arsons nearly doubled to 256 for the calendar year.
On the other hand, drug offences were down 8.6 per cent; trafficking and drug dealing dipped 25 per cent while drug cultivation and manufacture halved.
Hardest hit suburbs for burglaries were Berwick (up 40 per cent), Clyde North (up 46 per cent), Cranbourne West (up 31 per cent), Hallam (up 40 per cent) and Hampton Park (up 67 per cent).
Police Minister Lisa Neville said police were making more arrests than ever as part of a crime crackdown across the state.
“What we are seeing in these statistics is the results of this enforcement activity and the beginnings of a stabilisation in the number of offences.
“We’ve always said turning the six year crime trend around would be tough, and we’ve always been upfront about that.”
Ms Neville said the Government was making a record $2 billion investment in police, deploying 3135 extra officers over the next five years.
“We have been very clear that we want Victorians to feel safe in their homes. Victorians expect it and we will do everything in our power to deliver it.”
Opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the “staggering” 37.9 per cent rise in offences in Casey during the Andrews government’s first two years told of a “crime crisis”.
He said funding needed to be broughtfo rward for “desperately needed” extra police in Casey.
“While home invasions, car-jackings and crimes against the person have become depressingly common, Daniel Andrews has cut the opening hours of the Endeavour Hills Police Station and refused to commit to the much needed new Clyde police station.”
Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said vehicle theft and theft from vehicles was a sharp contributor to the statewide rise in thefts.
“Our analysis shows that more than one third of all recorded offences in Victoria are theft related.” Ms Dowsley said.
“The increase in thefts are driven by increases in motor vehicle theft and thefts from motor vehicles, with these offences making up nearly half of all theft offences.”