Rising crime stats highlight Ballarat's ice scourge

DRUG offences in Ballarat continue to soar as the regional ice scourge takes its toll on the community.

The quarterly police statistics also show that the overall crime statistics are up but assaults including reported family violence incidents were down.

Wednesday's figures show that drug offences increased from 262 to 476, an increase of 81.7 per cent on the same March-April period last year.

However, assaults had decreased by 16.5 per cent from 1324 to 1106 from the same period last year.

This included family violence assaults.

Overall crime in the region has increased by almost 12 per cent.

Ballarat Police Acting Inspector Neale Robinson said the overall increase in crime could be attributed to a substantial rise in drug offences, residential burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles.

He said the prevalence of ice and cannabis continued to be the root of the stark increase in drugs offences.

"Drug crime is unreported unless we catch them. Most of that data is when we process offenders," Mr Robinson said.

"Ice is becoming more prevalent and has a greater impact on the community.

"Ice is a difficult drug because it's not a traditional drug... members of the whole community are using ice"

Ballarat Police Acting Inspector Neale Robinson

"Ice is a difficult drug because it's not a traditional drug that just one socio-economic group are using. Members of the whole community are using ice."

He commended the work of the Divisional Family Violence Unit which had seen a decrease in the number of family violence assaults, but an increase in the number of intervention order breaches.

He said increased police activity nightspots had been successful and had contributed to the reduction in assaults.

"We've been doing work around our licensed venues, including some targeted operations and working closer with licensees under liquor accord to assist in managing venues," Mr Robinson said.

"Opportunistic" thieves have been blamed for an increase in burglaries from homes and cars.

Theft from cars climbed by 27 per cent up to 1281 incidents.

Residential burglaries rose to 852 incidents an increase of 13 per cent.

"Theft from motor cars and residential areas, a lot of it is opportunistic," Mr Robinson said.

"Just to reinforce the message of locking up vehicles and homes and lock up valuables for opportunistic thief."

He said police operations had been active in Redan, however car and home burglaries were not specific to one area of Ballarat.