Latrobe Valley’s crime rate climbs

The acting inspector of Latrobe Valley police says the force is working hard to reduce the impact of crime following the latest statistics.

Crime Statistics Agency data released last week reported the Latrobe Valley had the second highest offence rate in Victoria last year, with 17,862 per 100,000 residents – an estimated 10 per cent increase from 2014.

Melbourne held the top spot with 25,694 offences per 100,000, which was down 4.1 per cent.

The total crime in the Latrobe Valley in the year to December 2015 was 13, 282 reported incidents, higher than neighbouring local government areas such as Baw Baw with 7,667 and Wellington Shire with 10,534.

Acting Inspector Jason Helps said the region had featured high in relation to total crimes per 100,000, but police had already reduced property crime by more than seven per cent this year from last financial year’s figures.

“This is the result of targeted operations, effective crime analysis and valuable information from the crime,” Act Insp Helps said.

“While our crime per 100,000 is high, our total crime compared to many local government areas is still low.”

Act Insp Helps said an increase in burglary and theft from motor vehicles was part of a state-wide trend.

“In Latrobe we have established a dedicated crime task force investigating these particular crimes and they are apprehending and detecting offenders on a daily basis,” he said.

“Their hard work is seeing a reduction in repeat offending and has resulted in significant property recovery.”

Act Insp Helps said it was frustrating as much of this crime could be prevented, particularly theft from motor vehicles if people locked cars and were more careful with security.

RACV analysis of the data revealed the Latrobe Valley was the second most burgled local government area in Victoria in 2014/15.

It reported the postcodes of Churchill and Morwell were the most burgled within the municipality, followed by Moe and Traralgon. Churchill was Victoria’s fourth most burgled regional postcode.