Crime in Ballarat has jumped 11.6 per cent according to the latest Victoria Police statistics, released yesterday.
The statistics compare the 12 months to March 2012 with the 12 months to March 2011.
The biggest increase came from crimes against the person, up almost 28 per cent, largely attributed to a further jump in family violence reports (up 62.8 per cent).
Ballarat police acting Inspector Neale Robinson said it was always a positive to have more reports of family violence, but the upward crime trend was concerning.
“Family violence contributes about 40 per cent of all assault statistics,” he said.
“We’re seeing good results in relation to increasing the reporting of family violence, because it shows people are more confident in contacting the police.
“We encourage reporting, but we’re still disappointed in the trend we’re seeing.”
Acting Inspector Robinson said young people contributed heavily towards the property damage statistics (up 19.1 per cent), given the time and date of many of the offences.
“We can attribute a lot of these damages to youth crime, which we are working hard on,” he said.
“Graffiti is also a contributor, but we get a lot of other indiscriminate damage throughout the CBD.”
Police will now re-launch their anti-graffiti operation, Centaur, to combat the growing trend.
Acting Inspector Robinson said drug offences, up 12.7 per cent, reflected an increasing arrest rate, not necessarily an increase in drug activity.
“We’ve also had some good news, with theft from motor car (down 12.4 per cent), theft of motor car (down 1.7 per cent) and residential burglaries (down 7 per cent) all reduced,” he said.
“This shows our work in these areas is paying off.”
Acting Inspector Robinson said police would now work hard to improve in the areas highlighted within the latest crime statistics.
“We are very disappointed,” he said of the overall crime jump. “With all the effort we have been putting in, it’s a disappointing result.”
Ballarat Community Safety Advisory Committee chairman Des Hudson said the increase in family violence reports was encouraging.
“It’s important for people to feel safe in their own home, but it’s also important that if they do feel unsafe, they can contact police,” he said.