Mildura Weekly : Friday April 1 Vol 10 No 21
NEWS 03 FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU INCREASED levels of family vio- lence, assault-related incidents and aggravated burglary top the list of major safety issues facing the region, according to Mildura police Inspector John Nolan. Speaking to the Mildura Weekly this week following the release of updated Crime Statis- tics Agency figures for Mildura, Insp. Nolan, PICTURED, said the rate of family violence in the region was “unacceptable.” “We have seen significant ris- es in assault-related crimes and breaches of court orders over the last 12 months,” he said. “In the main, these spikes are attribut- able to increased reporting of family violence. “The truth is that if we could get on top of family violence, our crime rate would be falling, and falling significantly.” The Crime Statistics Agency is responsible for processing, an- alysing and publishing Victorian crime statistics independent of Victoria Police. Data established for 2015 indicated that Mildura’s crime was generally stable, with the exception of family violence and assault-related offences, which have risen significantly. Since 2011, the number of family violence incidents re- ported to Mildura police has in- creased by almost 79 percent per 100,000 population, up from 1696.2 to 3033.4, while the number of assault and related offences has also risen by 19 per- cent (546 record offences in 2011 up to 652 in 2015). “Although family violence af- flicts the entire community, there are particular pockets within the community that are grossly over- represented,” Insp. Nolan said. “The spike in family violence reports suggests that we may fi- nally be breaking through the cultural and procedural barriers that made it difficult for victims to obtain assistance. Complex issue “It was always known that family violence was under-report- ed, and while Victoria Police has made a concerted effort to drag the problem into the open – I don’t think anyone anticipated its size and complexity. “It is concerning that family incident reports in Mildura con- tinue their upward rise, whereas the rate in other Victorian com- munities appears to be plateau- ing. “It may be that cultural inhib- itors to reporting this crime are more entrenched in Mildura. “The current demand for po- lice services at family violence incidents is not sustainable in the long-term. “Although zero tolerance po- lice responses provide part of the answer, long-term solutions will require the collective wisdom, drive and commitment of the lo- cal community.” Overall Mildura recorded only a minor rise in reported crime between January and De- cember 2015, with the number of recorded offences per 100,000 population rising just 2.64 per- cent compared to 2014 figures. A total of 6184 offences were recorded in 2015, compared to 5950 offences in 2014, with Mil- dura’s population also slightly larger in 2015 compared to 2014, according to the Crime Statistics Agency. Insp. Nolan said another area of concern was “the unacceptably high number of aggravated bur- glaries in the region,” especially among the region’s elderly and itinerant workers. According to Crime Statistics Agency figures, the rate of bur- glary/break and enter and theft of- fences has remained consistent in the region over the past five years. Taking it seriously “Although rates of aggravat- ed burglary are not rising, it is a crime that we take very seriously due to the impact it has on the individuals involved, and com- munity confidence more broadly. “In recent times, offenders have been targeting our elderly citizens and itinerant workers because of their obvious vulner- abilities.” Insp. Nolan said that one of the ‘schemes’ currently employed by offenders was to approach el- derly residents in their homes posing as “someone in need of assistance.” “They’ll ask for a glass of wa- ter, to use the phone, to get a foot- ball that has been kicked over the fence, and while the resident is distracted a second offender will make their way into the home and steal money, valuable items, and in some cases even car keys,” he said. • Continued Page 5 Family violence, assaults top our crimes ‘hit list’ By Vinnie Rodi firstname.lastname@example.org “The truth is that if we could get on top of family violence, our crime rate would be falling, and falling significantly.” – Mildura police Inspector John Nolan 6 April 2016 SuniTASTE Training Restaurant at SuniTAFE Mildura Campus, 453 Benetook Avenue Mildura 10am-3pm | $295 (Lunch included) Limited spaces available - BOOK NOW! 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