Crime increases in the Ararat and Stawell regions

REGION - Another jump in drug related offences coupled with a rise in property crime and motor vehicle thefts contributed to a close to 50 percent climb in total crime in the Northern Grampians Shire Police Service Area (PSA) last year.

The latest statistics which compare the 12 months to December 2013 with the 12 months to December 2012 reveals the total number of offences rose from 2381 in 2012 to 3507 last year.

The number of drug offences in the PSA which includes Northern Grampians Shire, Ararat Rural City and Yarriambiack Shire Council areas grew from 126 to 280 (122.2 percent).

Northern Grampians Shire Police Service Area Inspector Ian Lindsay said police actively targeting drug-related crime through a number of operations and tasked patrols has resulted in the increase in the number of drug crimes detected and often offenders being charged.

"A large percentage of the information that police use to enforce the law against those trafficking or using drugs of dependence comes from the community," he said.

"I encourage all community members to continue to provide information to police about those involved in trafficking or using drugs.

"This information can be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000) or to your local police station/officer."

Concerning for police was the release of figures showing a rise in crime against property which has gone in the opposite direction to the statewide trend to almost double from 1079 offences in 2012 to 2127 in 2013.

Insp Lindsay said property damage continues to be a challenge for this PSA and the community.

"The recent rise in property damage can in some part be attributed to youth and alcohol-related crime, in particular a series of graffiti attacks on V Line services at Ararat and the immediate surrounds," he said.

"While security and patrols have increased at several locations, I would encourage parents and friends to maintain an active interest in their children's after-hours activities.

"The responsible serving of alcohol and supervision at private parties and licensed premises will continue to be a strong focus for enforcement activities and education."

Rounding out the rises is a significant rise (16.8 percent increase) in motor vehicles stolen.

"Many of these vehicles have been left unlocked by the owner," Insp Lindsay said.

"Stolen vehicles are often used to commit other crimes - theft of petrol from service stations, burglaries, high speed pursuits etc.

"Stolen vehicles pose a significant risk to the community and often an inconvenience for the owner.

"I ask for your help to reduce the number of stolen motor vehicles by ensuring you lock your vehicle when not in use and remain vigilant to report suspicious activity to police."

On a positive note the number of theft from motor vehicle offences fell by 12.8 percent from 125 to 109 while crime against the person reports fell by 15.3 percent from 600 in 2012 to 508 in 2013.

Insp Lindsay said police in the service area also continue to focus on the cause of motor vehicle collisions resulting in serious injury.

"Of primary concern is the number of single vehicle collisions in to fixed objects," he said.

"I urge drivers to consider regular rest breaks to reduce fatigue on long distance drives.

"Detection and enforcement will continue on distraction offences involving mobile phones together with drug and alcohol testing and speed measurement.

"Please ensure you are driving responsibly. We want your travel to be safe, sound and responsible and considerate to other road users."

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