Crime figures on the rise

Casey Council saw an 8 per cent rise in crime by the end of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

By Ethan Benedicto

Casey Council saw retail theft spike by 9 per cent by the end of 2023 compared to 2022, with supermarkets seeing the highest rate of incidents with an 83 per cent rise compared to the previous year.

With supermarket incident figures jumping from 187 to 342, service stations were the second highest, with a 42.7 per cent increase from 601 to 858.

The city also had a rise in young offenders, with those aged 10 to 17 seeing a 27.9 per cent increase from the previous year’s figure of 1009 pushing to 1291.

Similarly, and for the first time in the 10-year stretch of records by the Crime Statistics Agency, the age group of 45 and over alleged offenders peaked at 1244 incidents.

This is a 42.5 per cent increase to the average figure of 873 from 2014 to 2022.

Houses were the most common locations for recorded offences, with an 8.6 per cent increase from 2022 at 10,328 and 9506 respectively.

The second most common location was streets, lanes and footpaths, which saw a more dramatic increase of 13.8 per cent from 2022 to 2023, jumping from 2649 to 3017.

Both Cranbourne and Narre Warren remain at the top, with, respectively, 3232 and 3028 recorded offences and a 17.31 and 6.69 per cent increase compared to 2022.

Berwick and Clyde North trail just behind, with 2527 for the former and 1630 for the latter suburb; a 12 and 12.5 per cent increase each.

Property and deception offences, such as theft and burglary were up 17.6 per cent, with a figure of 3231 compared to 2747 the year prior.

Theft from a motor vehicle saw an increase of 35.3 per cent compared to 2022, with figures at 736.9 and 544.6 per capita respectively.

This comes after a two-year dip in figures between 2020 and 2021, which saw a decrease of 18.7 per cent from 721.2 and 585.8 per capita.

Residential aggravated burglaries were also up 10 per cent, with non-residential, non-aggravated burglaries up 31 per cent.

Overall the city had an 8 per cent increase in offences recorded per capita in 2023 compared to 2022, with Mark Goldspink, Casey’s local Area Commander and Acting Inspector remaining confident in the city’s safety.

“The overall crime rate in Casey has slightly risen over the past year, it remains at its third lowest level for the past decade.

“Casey remains a very safe place to live and work, with the overall crime 22 per cent below the state-wide crime rate,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Neil Patterson, who spoke on state-wide crime trends on 21 March said, in relation to youth crime, that what they’re seeing “is mindless and driven by the pursuit of notoriety or social media likes”.

“When cars are stolen by children their driving is particularly poor, that’s not surprising because they have very little experience on the road,” he said.

Victoria Police have dedicated operations such as Alliance – targeting youth gangs – and Trinity – targeting youth burglars and car thieves – to counter the offending, and have a focus on Casey, Greater Dandenong and Cardinia areas.

“When interviewed, offenders are telling us they will walk up and down a street until they find a door or window that is unlocked,” Mr Patterson said.

“Young people know the technology around cars; it’s harder to steal a car than it has been.

“The only way is to steal the keys; we’re calling on everyone to lock their doors and lock their cars, this will make a big impact on those types of crime,” he said.

Police have also added that with the gears of the local community once again moving post-pandemic, crimes in public places have also risen.

Additionally, local units are proactively door-knocking on known family violence offenders and victims to identify any breaches and prevent further offending.