Crime rates down but there’s more work to be done, say Ballarat police

Ballarat police say arresting criminals quickly has helped achieve a drop in the city’s crime rate by almost 6 per cent after it peaked two years ago.

Crime Statistics Agency data released today showed the amount of recorded offences per 100,000 people dropped from 11,304 to 10,660, or 5.7 per cent, between April 1, 2017, and March 31 this year in Ballarat’s local government area.

Inspector Dan Davison said having the intelligence needed to crack down on repeat offenders soon after an incident was reflected in the latest numbers.

“We generally know who our crooks are and the community also provides us with information we need, allowing us to usually make arrests within 48 hours,” he said.

“But there’s always more work to do - we need to work with our partner agencies and the community to make sure we remain vigilant and stick together.”

The number of residential aggravated burglaries and motor vehicle thefts dropped in the 12 months to March 31 after rising in the same period last year.

However, Ballarat-based Liberal MP Joshua Morris stressed the city’s overall crime rate had increased since Premier Daniel Andrews won office in November, 2014, saying some offences had started to drop only after sharp increases.

There were 10,136 offences recorded per 100,000 people in the 12 months to March 31, 2015, and this climbed to a peak of 11,334 offences the following year in 2016.

Since then, the crime rate in Ballarat has steadily decreased.

Premier Daniel Andrews hit back at Opposition members, saying they had “no credibility” when it came to crime.

"Today is a day to say thank you to Victoria Police, for the hard work that they do, for the risks that they take," he told reporters at a press conference near Beaufort today.

The Opposition is campaigning hard on law and order before the November state election, and Liberal leader Matthew Guy also said crime had risen over the four years the Labor party has been in power.

Offences that increased in Ballarat included residential non-aggravated burglaries, resisting or hindering officers and breaching family violence orders.

Sex offences were up across Victoria but down in Ballarat.

Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there were about 40,000 fewer victims in the state compared to last year.

"We talk about crime stats, and it's really important to remember that associated with each crime is a victim,” he said.

- with AAP