Victoria’s crime rate has dropped by nearly 10 per cent in the last year but new offences such as revenge porn have contributed to an increase in sexual offences.
The Crime Statistics Agency said overall recorded offences per 100,000 people fell from 8585 to 7773, or by 9.5 per cent, between April 1, 2017 and March 31 this year.
This reflected a decrease in both high-volume and high-harm crime, such as burglaries and aggravated burglaries, break-and-enters and serious assaults, Police Minister Lisa Neville told reporters on Thursday.
“I’m hoping this gives just a little bit of reassurance to Victorians that firstly we are making some inroads and it is heading in the right direction,” she said.
However, recorded sexual offences jumped by 1586, or nearly 12 per cent, over the same period, a trend partly driven by the introduction of new sexual offences in the last three years.
“Whilst it’s disappointing to see the increase, we do still see it as a positive, the fact that we’re actually getting those reports,” Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said.
Recently introduced offences include laws covering revenge pornography, which Mr Crisp said accounted for a significant proportion of the overall sex crimes rise.
Ms Neville added almost a quarter of recorded sex offences were historical, which was “not unusual in a context where you’ve got a royal commission into child sex abuse and you want people to come forward”.
Among other crimes, property and deception offences went down but still made up more than half of all recorded offences in Victoria.
“We talk about crime stats, and it’s really important to remember that associated with each crime is a victim – you’ve got a person, someone that’s been subjected to something that they shouldn’t be,” Mr Crisp said.
The opposition is campaigning hard on law and order before the November state election, and Liberal leader Matthew Guy says crime has risen over the four years the Labor party has been in power.
“For the government to gloat about lowering overall crime levels, they ignore the fact that crimes against the person in Victoria are now at their highest levels ever,” he said.
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