Crime figures show no change for Swan Hill

SWAN Hill has delivered a stagnant result in recent statistics released by the crime statistics agency.

The statistics showed that Swan Hill's total number of offences for the year ending March 2017 has remained at 2232, precisely the same figure recorded in the previous 12-month period.

Acting Inspector for the Swan Hill region Scott Anderson said while police would like to see a decline in offences, it was pleasing to see they had not spiked.

"We would like to see it reduce but having that (stable) result is reasonably good in comparison to other areas," Act Insp Anderson said. 

"To be static is better, my expectation is that there would be population increases and to have a stagnant result to me would be a positive and better than it going the wrong way." 

Act Insp Anderson said a newly established specialist family violence unit could be responsible for a 95.5 per cent change in stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour offences.

"A lot of that would relate to our increased enforcement on family violence," he said. 

"We established a specialist unit for family violence, the idea of that is obviously to give better support to victims and encourage reporting." 

Drug dealing and trafficking offences have plummeted to just seven offences in the past year, compared to the 29 recorded in 2016. 

Drug use and possession has seen a 38.1 per cent drop after a significant spike in offences during 2016, a result Act Insp Anderson said did not take into account long-term operations. 

"There's a number of operations, some larger scale over that period which resulted in a high number of offenders being detected," he said.

Drug offences have seen a downturn of 46.7 per cent, a figure Act Insp Anderson said could be attributed to competing priorities. 

"I would say it comes down to detection and what we are targeting, we have a lot of competing priorities," he said. 

"Sometimes we put resources in other areas and it is certainly something we will be looking at for the next three to six months and beyond." 

Theft was another major player with 304 reported offences in the year ending to March. 

Act Insp Anderson said many thefts in the community were opportunistic in nature. 

"We can become complacent in a rural environment, we just need to make sure we have that awareness and the opportunity for crime is not there, a lot of offenders are opportunists." 

Offences relating to breaches of orders have remained consistently high since 2013, with only three more offences recorded for the year ending March 2017, reflecting the low tolerance approach to bail and order offences Act Insp Anderson said.

"There has certainly been instruction that we don't have any leeway in technical breaches of orders or minor breaches of orders, we have a strong stance," he said.

"They are taken quite seriously and acted upon." 

"I would say that the Victorian government, through the legislation on bail, through the sentencing legislation in front of the courts at the moment…have already indicated that we want to see tougher sentencing in relation to particular crimes, particularly those high harm crimes."

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