NEW Victoria Police crime statistics show crimes against the person have risen in Ballarat over the past 12 months.
Drug offences, weapons offences and thefts from motor vehicles have also jumped, while car thefts, arson and property damage decreased over the same period.
Crimes per 100,000 population fell in the reporting period.
The statistics, which contain crime data for the 2012-13 financial year, compare it with data from the 12 months prior.
The number of assaults rose 3.3 per cent while overall crimes against the person jumped 6.1 per cent.
Ballarat Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said an overall drop in crime was good news for the city, but said efforts would continue to drive the rate even lower.
“Generally, I’m pretty happy because we’ve had an overall decrease in the rate of crimes per 100,000 population,” he said.
“That bucks the state trend, which has increased, so we’re against that which is pleasing.”
“However there are a number of areas of concern... crimes against the person are up which is always a concern.”
Among the best results for police was in the area of property damage, which includes Ballarat Police’s much publicised battle against graffiti.
Property damage came down 13.3 per cent, a drop of 254 offences compared to the year before.
Inspector Thomas said police had established a group dedicated to tackling unsightly tagging around Ballarat, along with other issues such as liquor licensing breaches.
"I'm still not happy with the graffiti situation around Ballarat"
“We call it a started patrol group, which is sergeant and three others,” he said.
“They’ve had some really good success in relation to a number of offenders and (laid) a large number of charges.”
Inspector Thomas said although the drop in offences was promising, more work on graffiti was needed.
“I’m still not happy with the graffiti situation around Ballarat,” he said.
“I think it’s an eye-sore and it just doesn’t inspire that sense of community safety, so we’re still concentrating on that.”
Inspector Thomas said theft from motor vehicles was also a major concern, with a recent survey by police discovering a large number of unlocked cars in central Ballarat.
“The vast majority of the vehicles (targeted by thieves) are unlocked,” he said.
“People are still leaving mobile phones, laptop computers and money in plain view... they need to lock their cars in their driveways and on the street.”
The overall recorded crime rate across the state increased by 1.6 per cent, measured as a rate per 100,000 of the population.
Crime against the person increased by 5.3 per cent, (or up 3903 offences to a total of 58,312 offences).
In releasing the latest statistics, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said despite two consecutive years of crime rates increasing, the 2012-13 rate was still significantly lower than in past years.
The annual statistics can be viewed at www.police.vic.gov.au.