BALLARAT police say a sharp jump in crime is "not just a police problem", but say they're working hard to address the issue.
Police statistics released yesterday covering the past 12 months in Ballarat show an overall crime increase of 10.9 per cent, driven largely by family violence, property damage and business burglaries.
The Ballarat statistics reflect a statewide trend, where a family violence drove the Victorian crime rate up for the first time in a decade.
Family violence related assaults jumped 66 per cent, while other assaults also rose by 10.8 per cent.
Inspector Bruce Thomas said police were committed to bringing down assaults and tackling family violence.
“Assaults are our number one priority at the moment,” he said.
“Up to 60 per cent of our assaults are family violence related ...which is quite disturbing.”
Inspector Thomas said Ballarat had increased its family violence unit to seven members, including one sergeant, and had changed its strategy to also focus on repeat victims, not just offenders.
He said police were disappointed with increases in property damage, particularly graffiti, but said a decrease in thefts from motor vehicles was pleasing.
“We’re very pleased with the rate of theft from motor cars, but people are still leaving their cars open, creating opportunity for thieves,” he said.
“We’ve got a dedicated unit of two detectives and two unformed personal that are working on recidivist offenders and they’ve had a lot of success over a long period of time.”
While the rate of residential burglaries had decreased slightly, Inspector Thomas said a spike in business burglaries was concerning.
“We’re working with our crime prevention officer to instil into people to target harden, to make sure doors are locked, to not leaves valuable lying around,” he said.
“People have got to take a bit of responsibility — it’s not just a police problem, its a whole of community problem and we want people to take some responsibility for their own actions and for their own property as well.”
Inspector Thomas said he was surprised at the upward crime trend.
“I think all of Victoria Police is surprised,” he said.
“We’re trying to put our heads together as to why ... it’s quite baffling actually.