CARJACKINGS are at the top of high profile crimes being targeted by police in Frankston, with crime statistics data Victoria-wide showing the brazen thefts have shot up 80 per cent in the past year.
Three recent carjackings in Frankston – on Frankston-Flinders Rd, 30 October; in Bartlett St, Frankston South, 5 November, and in Ashley Av, Frankston, 15 June – highlight the dangers to motorists driving late at night.
The government is believed to be working closely with police on tough new laws, with an offence of carjacking to target those stealing a car using force or putting a person in fear of being subjected to force.
The offence of aggravated carjacking would apply where force is excessive, causes injury, or involves using a weapon.
The rise in vehicle-related crime has been driven by a significant increase in the theft of number plates,” Acting Superintendent Simon Humphrey said.
This information is included in Frankston police district crime statistics released recently. They show that, in the year to March, a record 15,286 offences were reported in Frankston compared to 14,271 the year before – a 7.1 per cent hike (or 1015 offences) in the year.
“The stolen plates are used to commit further offending, including petrol theft, petrol drive offs and toll and fine avoidance,” he said.
“Number plates are relatively easy to steal, particularly those that have not been fixed with tamper-resistant screws. Victoria Police is currently engaged with VicRoads in work towards the development and implementation of theft-resistant and tamper-proof number plate technologies.
“But we also urge people to look after and secure their property – including number plates. They are commonly stolen from vehicles parked in residential streets, near railway stations and shopping centres.
“Where possible, people should park vehicles off-street, in locked garages where possible, or in well-lit areas.”
The crime statistics show a 64.41 per cent jump in public nuisance offences, 37.29 per cent jump in sexual offences, and 31.62 jump in burglary offences.
“Public nuisance numbers are very small (less than 100) and again the numbers are driven by the number of detections by police,” Superintendent Humphrey said.
“Sexual offence numbers have increased which has been driven by victims feeling more confident to come forward and report matters to police – including family violence and historical sex offences.
“Our Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams work alongside other support services to provide victims with the support and referrals they need.”
Superintendent Humphrey said burglary numbers were concerning – but consistent with state-wide trends.
“We encourage people to lock and secure their home as much as possible,” he said.
“Many of these types of offences don’t involve forced entry and are opportunistic. We have also seen an increase in thefts from unlocked sheds and garages.
“Likewise, many thefts of and from vehicles involve unlocked cars – some with valuables on display. Prevention is a focus and we need the community to work with us to reduce the risk.”