Offenders as young as 12 have been apprehended as police crackdown on a spate of aggravated burglaries in the Ballarat area.
The number of aggravated burglaries in Ballarat was at a six-year high at the start of the year with 55 offences reported to police between January and March.
That number is more than double the previous quarter and the highest since 2011, the last year figures are available.
Inspector Bruce Thomas said a number of recent arrests had “made a dint in the offending”, committed mainly by young people from the Ballarat region.
Young people were breaking into houses to steal keys to a vehicle, stealing the vehicle and then dumping it and stealing another, Inspector Thomas said.
“They're agile, they're out at night, they have no fear, they have very little fear of police and the courts.
“They're very tech savvy, all of these issues contribute to making them more difficult to apprehend.”
Inspector Thomas said police had made a number of arrests over the last six months, including a number of repeat offenders who had been breaking into homes and stealing motorbikes.
“We've arrested a large number of people in the last six months, some of them are yet to go before the courts, some of them are on bail, some of them are on remand and we constantly monitor these recidivist offenders and put in place as many disruptive strategies as we can.”
“Our divisional unit is working round the clock but it's not easy.”
Victoria Police on Monday hastened to assure the community they would “get on top” of the crime wave, which spans the state.
Inspector Thomas said most of the aggravated burglaries were non-violent.
“We would ask the public not to approach the people that are making these burglaries because some of these might have weapons, we won't know and the victim won't know either.
“What we ask is people target harden their houses, not leave their keys on a hook next to the door, not leave the roller door open.
“All these contribute to it being an easier offence to commit.”
A police operation with a focus on aggravated burglary and theft started in early May has made over 75 arrests.
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