Crime rate highest in a decade

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KINGSTON’S criminal incident rate was at its highest in a decade in 2019 according to the Crime Statistics Agency.

The latest CSA figures released last month revealed that the total number of criminal incidents in the Kingston municipality rose sharply in the year ending September 2019. The total number of recorded incidents for the year was 8,894, up 8.2 per cent from last year. 

The criminal incident rate per 100,000 people in Kingston for 2019 was 5381. The figure is still below the state average, but is Kingston’s worst crime rate for the decade.

Crimes were committed in Cheltenham more than in any other local suburb by a wide margin. 1506 criminal incidents were reported in the suburb, over 500 more than next on the list. The crime rate in Cheltenham and Moorabbin was reported to have increased in 2019, although it has fallen in Mentone, Mordialloc, and Clayton South.

The most reported principal offence was stealing from a motor vehicle. There were 1552 reported incidents in Kingston, up from 1281 the year prior.

Frankston Police Detective Sergeant Nick Lamb said that police needed the public’s help to combat the rising rate of thefts from cars.

“There has been a spike in unlocked vehicles with valuables inside being targeted,” he said. “We are asking local residents to work with us to stop these crimes. Lock your vehicles and put your valuables inside your house.”

Other figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency also showed that the number of reported family incidents in Kingston rose nearly 10 per cent from last year.

There were 1610 reported family incidents in the municipality in 2019, up from 1472 the year prior. The affected family members were recorded as women at almost three times the rate of men.

Kingston Council launched their prevention of family violence action plan in March 2019 to try and put a stop to the rising number of family violence incidents.

The plan read that council will do a number of things to help them reach their goals, including to “advocate for policy, legislative and institutional reform to support gender equality and family violence prevention, align with national, state and local organisations and alliances that undertake a diverse range of advocacy and activism to promote gender equality and family violence prevention, deliver primary prevention family violence initiatives through regional partnerships including promoting state awareness raising campaigns, celebrate and undertake local promotion of relevant national and international events that support family violence prevention, and inform the community about council’s family violence prevention strategies and activities (“Family violence prevention plan launched”, The News, 3/4/19).”

In neighbouring Frankston, crime is on the downturn. The CSA’s figures showed that there were 10,977 total criminal incidents there in 2019, down 1.1 per cent from 11,096 the previous year.

The criminal incident rate in Frankston has dropped year on year since 2016. In the year ending September 2019, the criminal incident rate per 100,000 people in Frankston stood at just over 7666. That number is still up from the state average of 6032.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 15 January 2019

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