Crime stats in Valley up

CRIME statistics in the Latrobe Police Service Area for the 2011 calendar year were up, with crimes against the person rising most significantly by 23.9 per cent.

The rise was part of a broader phenomenon across Gippsland, described as a “worrying trend” by Inspector Mick West.

“However, it is important for the community to understand that we will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to any violence-related incidents and with extra (police) numbers we will have more police presence in our streets and around licensed premises where many of these incidents are occurring,” Insp West said in his summary note of the quarterly crime statistics.

“Along with the rise in assault, we have also witnessed increases in property damage offences which are up 9.3 per cent.”

The Latrobe area experienced a 58 per cent increase in robberies compared with 2010 but reported fewer residential burglaries and car thefts.

However, Insp West noted while there was a rise in thefts from motor vehicle offences at 12.1 per cent, it was pleasing that theft of motor vehicle offences decreased by 14.2 per cent.

Insp West said more police have been assigned to the major towns in the Latrobe Valley, including Moe, Morwell and Traralgon.

“We have increased police numbers at the Churchill Police Station and I believe we are seeing an increase in visible police presence and a higher level of service delivery to the township.”

He said the much-anticipated Family Violence Unit was going to be launched soon, and police were in the process of being selected for the unit.

Additionally, the relocation of the Gippsland police communications centre in Moe to Ballarat meant more operational members could be deployed back onto the streets.