February 28, 2013

Crime Rates Jump Again Under Baillieu Government

The Baillieu Government’s so-called tough on crime stance is failing with new police crime statistics showing significant rises across nearly all categories, Geoff Howard MP, State member for Ballarat East said today.

Mr Howard said Victoria Police statistics released today showed offences recorded jumped in all but two categories.

“These figures show the Baillieu Government’s so-called tough on crime stance is in tatters with jumps in crime against the person, drug, assault, burglary and car theft,” Mr Howard said.

“Under Labor, Victorians saw 10 years of reduced crime rates and Mr Baillieu and Deputy Leader and Minister for Police Peter Ryan have managed to unravel that good work by cutting the Victoria Police budget by $65million and slashing 350 staff.

“Under the Baillieu Government there were 406,643 offences recorded, an increase of 9.5 per cent on the previous year.

“Victoria Police statistics show crime against the person jumped 12.9 per cent, drug offences jumped 19.1 per cent and assault including family violence has blown out 17.2 per cent.

“Assaults excluding family violence jumped 6.4 per cent with 27,000 offences recorded, burglary rose 11.5 per cent and motor vehicle theft jumped 10.8 per cent.”

Mr Howard said in regional Victoria assaults were out of control with massive jumps of 22.4 per cent in Ballarat, 18.3 per cent in Bendigo and 36.6 per cent in Geelong.

“Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan have managed to destroy 10 years of hard work to reduce crime by Labor in two years.

“The Baillieu Government’s key election promise to get tough on crime has failed. This is
what happens when you ignore the causes of crime and fail to put in any measures to prevent crime.

“Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan have been too absorbed in their own leadership and internal office crises and undermining police command rather than dealing with these serious issues.

“It is a falsehood to suggest that these figures are a result of additional police.

“What we know is that Victoria Police has been hit with $65 million cuts and stripped of 350 unsworn officers and 480 Department of Justice staff – this takes police off the beat.

“Cuts to TAFE and other important education programs and the lack of a plan to create jobs has also seen more people become disadvantaged and under stress.  These factors can only result in increased crime,” said Mr Howard.