By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Casey’s crime rate has fallen for the first time in five years, according to official statistics.
The state’s Crime Statistics Agency reported that criminal incidents per capita dropped by 8 per cent between October 2016-September 2017.
It was the first drop since September 2012.
The further good news was massive falls in reported burglaries and break-ins (18 per cent), thefts (17 per cent) and robberies (21 per cent).
However crimes-against-the-person continued to rise, particularly for reported assaults (5 per cent), sexual assaults (11 per cent) and stalking and harassment (7 per cent).
Soberingly, there were still about 2000 reported assaults and 2000 reported burglaries in Casey for the year – about 50 of each offence each week.
Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan said it was the greatest drop in the crime rate in seven years.
He pointed to a 11.1 per cent fall in Endeavour Hills and 24.3 per cent in Narre Warren North.
“While these stats are encouraging, the work is not over,” Mr Donnellan said.
“Police in Southern Metro region have been relentless in targeting property and deception offences, which we are seeing in these figures.
“And we’ll continue to give our local police the resources and powers they need to keep our community safe .”
Police Minister Lisa Neville speaking on the Victoria-wide trend – which mirrored the Casey stats – said many of the sexual and common assaults were attributable to family violence.
The statewide drops in thefts were particularly driven by reduced car-stealing (down 14 per cent across Victoria).
Aggravated burglaries – a “high-harm” crime that caused fear in the community – had dropped for the first time.
Ms Neville said the drop was across most crimes and most local government areas. “It’s coming down … virtually across the state.”
She attributed it to police strategies and tactics and additional police “starting to make an on-going significant downward trend” in crime.
Opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue said crime had still soared overall in the past three years of the Andrews State Government.
In raw terms, it was up 29 per cent in Casey since late 2014 – or 17.3 per cent on a per capita basis.
“Despite this, he refuses to match the commitment of (Bass MP) Brian Paynter and the Coalition to deliver the much needed Clyde North 24/7 police station,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“The dramatic increase in serious offending … such as assault and related offences, sexual offending, drug dealing and weapons offences is further evidence that Daniel Andrews’ soft on crime approach simply hasn’t worked.
“Only a Matthew Guy Government has the plans and resolve to tackle the growth in serious crime in Casey.”