Ballarat's crime rate has fallen to its lowest level in four years.
The latest report from Crime Statistics Victoria reveals the number of offences per 100,000 population in Ballarat has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since 2015.
Superintendent Jenny Wilson thanked the Ballarat community for its increased vigilance and for working with police to bring the crime rate down for the third consecutive year.
She said one contributing factor was Ballarat increasing its front line investigation response in January, so there are now detectives working 24/7 across the division, meaning crimes were responded to more efficiently.
However, the crime rate remains higher than other major regional cities such as Bendigo and Geelong.
The current offence rate, from the 12 months to March 31, is 9938.6 per 100,000, down 6.38 per cent.
The offence with the highest rate is theft, at 3195.4 offences per 100,000, however this is down from 3641.3 last year, and has been declining since a spike in 2016.
Most crimes tracked downward, with substantial decreases in sexual offences, property damage, and burglaries.
Superintendent Wilson said the decrease in burglaries was a positive result of increased security awareness and community members looking after each other.
But she said police were seeing an increase in vehicle crime - thefts from and of vehicles and commonly, burning them to ensure no forensic evidence is left behind.
"Offenders are looking for small, valuable items left in cars that they can easily sell. There is an increase of on-street parking rather than in garages, so more cars are available than ever before," she said.
"We are also finding people are forgetting to activate their key less entry to cars, so there is an increased number of cars being left unlocked."
The number of family violence incidents in Ballarat dropped 0.4 per cent, from 1893 to 1885, and the offence rate per 100,000 population also dropped 2.5 per cent from 1763.9 to 1720.5.
Superintendent Wilson said family violence reports were relatively stable and the division was increasingly working to better its response and recording of family violence incidents.
However, assaults and related offences increased, as did deception and drug use and possession.
Breaches of orders also increased, from 1183.3 per 100,000 last year to 1376.4.
There were four homicides recorded in Ballarat in the 12 months to March 31, a category which includes murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, and driving causing death.
Superintendent Wilson said research showed that offenders do not commit just one offence but a series of offences, often with one enabling another, so police were focusing their attention on identifying these offenders to break the offending patterns.
In the broader region, an increase in offences was recorded in Pyrenees, with a slight increase in Golden Plains shire, while a decrease was recorded in Hepburn.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.