Police have arrested 55 people over three months as they crack down on recidivist offenders committing a string of offences including aggravated burglaries, car thefts and arson.
Divisional Response Unit Senior Sergeant Darren Tanis said investigators believe a small number of repeat offenders have and are continuing to commit a high percentage of volume crime offences in the Ballarat area.
Car number plate thefts have risen by 45 per cent over 12 months. Police believe around 60 per cent of theft from motor vehicle offences are linked to stolen number plates. Car thefts have risen to 567, an average of nearly 11 a week.
This poses significant risk to the public with some offenders deliberately using plates to avoid identification while committing criminal and traffic offences, Senior Sergeant Tanis said.
“These (issues) include the use of unregistered or un-roadworthy vehicles on the roads and the deliberate attempt to conceal the owner’s details for the vehicle,” Senior Sergeant Tanis said.
“Police will definitely continue to investigate and focus on these issues and on the identification of people stealing number plates and using them on our roads. It is a significant issue and Police would ask for community support in reporting offenders to assist us in reducing crime.”
Police have arrested 55 people over three months with 20 alleged offenders remanded into custody. Other alleged offenders are on bail while the matter continues before the court.
“Investigators believe these investigations are directly impacting on a range of offending across varying crime themes including criminal damage by fire to stolen vehicles,” Senior Sergeant Tanis said.
Investigations revealed offenders routinely swap stolen registration plates across both stolen and unregistered vehicles. These vehicles then used to commit offences including petrol drive offs.
“We are making inroads. However a substantial number of people in the community are still not locking cars that are parked in their garage or are leaving garage doors open that allow access to the house,” Senior Sergeant Tanis said.
“The community need to ensure that basic security measures are put in place. Police are still taking a large numbers of reports where laptop computers, mobile phones and other valuables are left in unlocked vehicles and stolen.”