Opinion

More to raw crime figures

By Shepparton News

On the face of it, the release of the latest crime statistics do not make great reading for our region.

That Greater Shepparton is fifth on the list of Victorian local government areas for criminal incidents is far from ideal.

The raw data itself may give the perception that crime is on the rise or that people feel less safe where they live.

Some, typically politicians in the opposition, often seize the opportunity for political reasons and label the problem as out of control.

And while the statistics are informative and somewhat enlightening, they do not necessarily give the full picture about what is happening more broadly with crime.

Things are often not as good, or as bad, as they might seem.

For example, increased reporting of drug offences at certain times could be linked to proactive police campaigns such as ‘Dob in a Dealer’.

Further, police said yesterday that increased crime was being detected because there were more police on the beat and increased arrests.

Another aspect is the tightening of bail laws, which have increased the potential for an elevation of crimes of breaching conditions of bail.

Police have confirmed that property crime, including offences such as thefts of cars and burglaries, are among the main issues for our region.

The most concerning aspect of the statistics in general is the increase in youth crime, with 15 to 19-year-olds topping the list for crimes against the person, including offences such as homicide, assault, sex offences, robbery and stalking.

Police also acknowledged yesterday that the issue of youth crime is a significant problem.

Pleasingly, Shepparton has a range of outstanding individuals and organisations tasked with looking out for the wellbeing of our youth.

Combined with the police efforts to engage youth, we are confident this is and will continue to go a long way to mitigating the likelihood of our most at-risk young people becoming involved in crime.