Surge in aggravated burglaries

City of Ballarat has recorded one of the biggest spikes in aggravated burglaries across Victoria, according to the latest crime data.

Crime Statistics Agency numbers released on Thursday showed there were 232 aggravated burglaries in the year to the end of March, up 90 cases on the year before.

There were only 62 aggravated burglaries between April 2012 to March 2013 in the city.

Acting Superintendent Trevor Cornwill put the increase down to crooks breaking into houses to steal cars.

The amount of motor vehicle thefts also surged, with 567 cars being nicked compared to 521 the year prior.

Only 282 motor vehicles were stolen in the 12 months to March 31, 2014.

But overall crime rates across the City of Ballarat have stabilised, unlike in areas such as Ararat. 

The total amount of offences increased by less than one per cent in Ballarat after police targeted recidivist criminals.

Acting Superintendent Cornwill linked aggravated burglaries to motor vehicle thefts.

"Instead of using a wire and coat hanger on cars, they enter through external areas of buildings to get car keys," he said.

Not all aggravated burglaries involved violence. The offence also includes when hoods entered houses with an intent to steal while occupants were home.

Overall theft and deception offences dropped by 4.1 per cent within City of Ballarat’s boundaries, bucking a statewide trend. 

And the total amount of offences increased by only 0.8 per cent across the city.

Acting Superintendent Cornwill said this came about by targeting recidivist criminals, or repeat criminal offenders.

“It’s more of an intelligence-based approach now,” he said.

"A small amount of the population is responsible for the majority of our crime.

"Certainly there's a slight increase in crime on the previous year, and no increase is good, but there's certainly a slowing down of crime."

And targeting property offences has led to a reduction in drug crime.

There were only 49 drug trafficking offences compared to 73 during the year before across Ballarat.

Acting Superintendent Cornwill said: “property crime goes hand in hand with drug crime, a lot of the time people are stealing to support a drug habit."

Assaults were also up to 1006 cases from 896, with Acting Superintendent Cornwill attributing this to police evasions.

Residents were left reeling after a man allegedly led police on a wild chase across Ballarat last week.

Ballarat dad Sam Pullin was informed by police this week it was his Holden Rodeo they suspected the offender had used for his getaway before torching it.

"It was baffling, because whoever took my car had pulled out my kids' car seats with other items and stacked them neatly under a tree outside my house," Mr Pullin said.

“Police were awesome about it, they kept me updated and informed."

Acting Superintended Cornwill said community Facebook pages were a good way to solve thefts.

"We definitely welcome them as it helps us build intelligence," he said.

"I have a real concern about people who don't report crime."