Crime incidents in theft and burglary in Moira Shire have more than doubled over recent years nudging similar figures to larger local government areas such as Wodonga and much of it is related to the drug methamphetamine (ICE).
The grim crime figures were released by Crime Statistics Agency recently for the year ending, March 31, 2019.
Overall the Moira Local Government Area (LGA) has experienced a massive 56% jump in overall crime incidents since 2015 going from 1078 in 2015 to 1685 in 2019.
In that time incidents of theft have risen from 242 in 2015 to 512 in 2019. Burglaries rose from 130 in 2015 to 259 in 2019. In Yarrawonga alone, there was 53 residential and non-residential burglaries for 2019. More than one a week. Back in 2015 there were only 22 burglaries over 12 months.
In comparison to neighbouring LGAs incidents of theft and burglaries are significantly lower than Moira. The Wangaratta LGA had 419 theft and 94 burglary incidents in 2019 while the Benalla LGA only had 198 theft and 61 burglary incidents. The Wodonga LGA, which supports a larger population, had 586 incidents of theft and 247 incidents of burglary only marginally above Moira.
Senior Darren McGrillen of Cobram Crime Investigation Unit said the increase of theft and burglary over the last four years was in part related to drugs and said recent breakthroughs by police is already seen a decrease in similar crime incidents.
“Burglary and theft have significantly increased in part due to out of area offenders attending and committing these offences in Moira and an increase in the prevalence of the use and trafficking in drugs such as ICE,” Sgt McGrillen said.
“In recent months we have made significant arrests through the good work of number of units including Cobram CIU and Moira Uniform Stations, Eastern Crime Squad, Wangaratta Divisional Tasking Unit, Cobram HWP and Wangaratta Crime Scene.
“These arrests, changes in rostering, tasking and crime prevention strategies has resulted in a significant decrease in property related crime in Moira within recent months.
“A large proportion of these offenders have an addiction to illicit substances in particular ICE.
“In recent months police have seized drugs and a large amount of stolen property has been recovered as a result of arrests.
“A number of these offenders are currently on bail with strict conditions, on remand awaiting court or have been sentenced. Recent arrests have already seen a decrease in offences in Moira.”
Sgt McGrillen also said a rise in family violence related incidents also in Moira demonstrates an increased confidence in the community around reporting family violence to police.
“Whilst we would like to see the end of family violence, we are aware it is a work in progress and the increase in reporting allows us to provide assistance and protection to those individuals or families that are victims of family violence.”
Sgt McGrillen said police are thankful for the support of the community.
“Intelligence from the community has contributed to a number of the recent arrests. I encourage people to contact Crime Stoppers, or local police if they have information about offending.”
He encourages members of the community to subscribe to the eyewatch pages at Wangaratta and Shepparton where police are often seeking the assistance of the community to identify offenders, vehicles and property.
“If people take basic crime prevention measures to ensure the security of their property, vehicles and firearms it would assist reducing property related crime in Moira,” Sgt McGrillen said.
“Our members continue to work hard and take pride in their work. Our role is to serve the Victorian community and uphold the law to promote a safe, secure and orderly society. We are doing all we can and ask the community to continue to partner us in the fight against crime.”
The Victoria Police website has valuable crime prevention tips, party safe registration, firearms applications and forms and lots of other useful information for the community we encourage people to visit police.vic.gov.au.