Creswick needs a 24-hour police presence, business owners are demanding, after thieves stole $30,000 worth of cigarettes from a supermarket.
However, Victoria Police wants to reassure the community it does receive a 24-hour response, and police resourcing is constantly reviewed.
Police are investigating the burglary, which occurred on Sunday morning after 4am.
It's alleged two men, wearing hoodies and one with bright green gloves, spent about 12 minutes trying to force open a door at the Creswick IGA.
Spotted on CCTV, they then used a ramming bar to smash through the door, before jimmying off two cigarette cabinets and rolling them onto the back of a waiting ute.
No one has been arrested yet, but Moorabool Criminal Investigation Unit has appealed for witnesses to come forward if they have any information.
However, the supermarket's owner, Steve Sellars, said the crime reinforced the need for a permanent police presence in the growing town.
While Creswick is 20 minutes away from Ballarat, it falls under the Moorabool police service area - after hours, police must come from Bacchus Marsh in emergencies, which is about 50 minutes away.
Mr Sellars said that's not good enough - despite the hard work being done by police, in an emergency it makes more sense to come from Ballarat.
His business has been broken into four times now in the past four years, he said, and that's affecting insurance.
This incident comes at a particularly unfortunate time, as Mr Sellars is preparing to open a new supermarket nearby.
"It puts a lot of pressure on the business, because even though you're insured, you're not insured for the full amount," he said.
"This is the week I'm ordering stock (for my new store), now I need to replenish the cigarettes for the customers before I order stock for the new store."
Mr Sellars has echoed concerns from earlier in the year that residents felt unsafe in the town, adding he was afraid Melbourne-based crooks could be targeting Creswick.
"(They've) broken into my roof twice, and into cool room out the back, they've cut the locks twice," he said.
"Graffiti's gone crazy in town, our new store's already been tagged.
"A lot of customers speak to us, and the staff, a lot of people are concerned because there's no 24-hour police station in Creswick - and the criminal element in town, around town, and even in Melbourne are aware of that and they target that."
Mr Sellars' new Creswick store will have extra security measures, he added.
"We've taken so many measures over the years," he said.
"It's a growing town, there's development at the golf course, there's retail development, there's more and more tourists around on weekends, and really, people want a 24-hour police station.
"They want someone on the beat - to come from Bacchus Marsh is crazy."
Previously, it had been announced another 10 police officers will be deployed in the Moorabool PSA, as well as other specialist officers and detectives shared with Ballarat.
READ MORE: Ballarat reinforced with new police
According to a Victoria Police spokesperson, crime has actually decreased in Creswick.
"The latest data from the Crime Statistics Agency shows that in the 12 months to March 2019 there has been a 20.7 per cent decrease in crime in Creswick," they said in a statement.
"There were 222 offences recorded during this period, less than one per day. Five incidents of retail theft in Creswick were reported to police during this 12 month period.
"More than 14 per cent of all offences were breaches of family violence and personal intervention orders or bail conditions, demonstrating the commitment of Creswick police to holding offenders to account."
They added while there was no demonstrated demand for a 24-hour station in Creswick, this is continually reviewed.
"Victoria Police is constantly reviewing police numbers, levels of offending and peak times when police are required. It is more effective to have our officers mobile - investigating and attending scenes of crime - rather than sitting behind a desk at a police station," they said.
"While Creswick is a non-24 hour police station we would like to reassure the Creswick community that they do receive a 24-hour police response.
"Our officers work extremely hard every day and night to keep Creswick residents and everyone living in the Moorabool Police Service Area safe.
"Local police are confident they are providing an effective policing response to the Creswick community, supported by specialist units that work across the wider Moorabool area including the Highway Patrol, Divisional Response Unit, Proactive Policing Unit, Family Violence Investigation Unit, and Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team to provide."
Anyone with information about the burglary, or who may have witnessed the incident, is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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