THE CRIME rate decreased significantly while the community was in lockdown due to restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to police.
On Thursday, Deputy Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told media that Victoria Police had seen a significant reduction in a number of crime categories in April.
While the official Crime Statistics Agency data for the period will not be released until later this year, he said that in April, Victoria had recorded the lowest daily average for offences since June 2014.
He attributed the six year low to limited movement throughout the community and therefore limited opportunities for offenders.
Among the significant reductions in statewide offences were robbery, residential burglaries and home invasions. And while police had initially prepared for an increase in commercial burglaries due to buildings being left unoccupied, there was also a significant drop in this offence.
Police have attributed this to extra tasking and patrols around these areas - including in the Ballarat region, where police also encouraged business owners to increase their security measures.
Meanwhile, there was a slight decrease in theft of and from motor cars - a high volume crime - while family violence offences remained relatively steady.
Police have been conducting Operation Ribbon since restrictions were put in place to not only stay in contact with known victims, but also to ensure offenders abide by court orders.
There was also a reduction in assaults, which police have put down to the closure of pubs and clubs, as well as of sexual offences.
However, there was a slight increase in aggravated burglaries. Aggravated burglaries occur when a person is inside the home when a burglar enters, but does not necessarily mean a confrontation occurs. Usually the burglar takes items such as car keys.
There was also a slight increase in carjackings, while armed robbery remained consistent.
Local Inspector Damien Christensen said while most offences had decreased across the police service area - encompassing Ballarat, Moorabool, Hepburn, Golden Plains and Pyrenees - there had been a slight increase in aggravated burglaries.
Most of these were the result of doors or windows being left unlocked, which most people do when they are at home, so it was mostly opportunistic crime.
"As people start to get back to work or about their normal business, we want to remind everybody to lock up and be vigilant," he said.
And with more proactive patrols on the street as part of Operation Sentinel, police have come into contact with offenders.
Many already breaking the restrictions set out by the chief health officer by being out in the first place, police detected them committing further offences such as speeding, drink or drug driving.
Despite the decreases in crime, police are not being complacent, with some crime levels already increasing to the levels from before the stage three restrictions were put in place.
Inspector Christensen said local police would continue to be as proactive as possible around crime trends, such as by working with at risk youth to deter them from committing crime, and encouraging the community to be proactive about the protection of their own property.