Crime up on drug arrests high

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CRIME across Kingston has surged 6.6 per cent in the past 12 months fuelled by a sharp spike in drug offences and stalking threats.

Figures for the 12 months to June this year released by the newly formed Crime Statistics Agency reveal overall crime in Kingston has risen from 9645 in 2013-14 to 10,281 in 2014-15, the highest number of reported offences in five years.

Drug offences rose from 710 in 2013-14 to 935 in 2014-15 led by a 144 increase in drug use and possession offences. Drug dealing and trafficking offences were up from 74 to 103 for the same period.

Breaches of existing judicial orders also jumped to 935, up from 710 the previous year.

Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour offences jumped from 207 to 243 in 2014-15 but crimes against the person, including assaults, fell from 1393 to 1289.

The latest crime figures, released last week, are the first full year’s statistics to be compiled by the independent Crimes Statistics Agency set up by the previous Coalition state government amid claims from politicians that previous data had been massaged for political purposes.

The statistics show for the first time the ages of people and repeat offenders have been recorded by police as alleged offenders and victims.

Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said that while the number of “unique victims” across Victoria has remained stable from the previous year’s figures, there was a drop in the number of victims under the age of 25.

“Over the last year we have seen a 4 per cent drop in the number of victims under 25, with the greatest change seen amongst 15 to 19 year old victims who dropped by 8 per cent,” Ms Dowsley said.

Offenders under 25 also dropped, down 4.2 per cent compared to the previous year but these offenders were involved in more incidents on average compared to other alleged offenders’ age groups.

“Our statistics show that on average, offenders under 25 were involved in 2.2 incidents per offender compared to the overall average of 1.9 incidents per offender.”

In 2011 a Victorian Ombudsman’s report found quarterly crime statistics released three days before the 2010 state election showing a drop in assaults in Melbourne’s CBD “was based on yet to be validated data”.

The Labor state government backed the formation of the CSA when in opposition and Victoria Police supported the Ombudsman’s recommendation to establish an independent body to manage crime statistics.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 7 October 2015

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