Crime statistics: Graffiti drops, assaults rise

Ballarat police might have won a battle against graffiti according to the latest police statistics – but they insist the war is far from over.

The crime statistics, which compare Ballarat’s crime in 2012 with 2011, show there were fewer robberies, more assaults, less property damage and more home burglaries.

Overall, reported crime in the Ballarat police service area for 2012 increased 2.3 per cent. Ballarat Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said the decrease in crime against property (down 8.7 per cent) was pleasing, but was not a sign police would take a backward step on graffiti.

“We have made a number of arrests and we’re tracking along nicely with property damage, but we don’t want to drop the ball,” he said.

“I think the community are sick of graffiti, as police are, and we need the public to report any tagging or suspicious behaviour to police immediately.”

He said police were “regenerating” the local anti-graffiti initiative, Operation Centaur, in an effort to try and stem the number of tags around the city.  Reports of family violence assaults jumped again, increasing 27.9 per cent, while non-family violence assaults jumped 18.9 per cent.

Inspector Thomas said police were constantly looking at new initiatives and processes to drive the crime rate down.

“Assaults are our main concern and top priority,” he said.

“Family violence contributes to the assault figures ... the Family Violence Unit is now concentrating on recidivist offenders and repeat victims, who, as research shows, contribute a great deal to the overall figures.”

Inspector Thomas said the Ballarat police Assault Reduction Strategy was in the process of being reviewed in order to gauge “continued relevance”.

There were 23 more home burglaries in 2012 compared with 2011, an increase of 3.2 per cent, while theft of motor vehicles dropped 5.9 per cent.