Bath calls for more police as crime surges in Gippsland
Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has highlighted rising crime rates in Gippsland and the need for more frontline police.
“Latrobe now has the second highest offence rate in Victoria with 19,167 offences per 100,000 estimated residents population,” Ms Bath told the parliament.
She said local police were doing the best they could to tackle crime but without adequate resources their job was made more difficult.
“To put into perspective how dire the situation is, the Victorian crimes database shows that in the Latrobe region Crimes Against a Person have risen in the last year with homicide and related offences up 150 per cent in the year ending June 2016 and assault and related offences up 13.6 per cent,” she said.
“In the Wellington Shire drug dealing and trafficking has increased by 133 per cent for the same period – a massive surge with news reports also highlighting issues with the drug ice in this area. The other frightening statistic was that sexual offences were up 102.8 per cent.”
In South Gippsland under the category of ‘Crimes Against the Person,’ assault and related offences increased by 25.8 per cent. Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour have increased by 47.6 per cent.
In Bass Coast deception, theft and property damage remain the highest increase for the period with deception at 72 per cent, theft 56.6 per cent and property damage 28.1 per cent.
Ms Bath has now called on the Minister for Police Lisa Neville to detail whether there are plans to deploy additional police in Gippsland where they are desperately needed.
She said it was the responsibility of state government to keep the community of Victoria safe yet Labor had failed to do so with crime out of control.
“Under the Premier we have heard that crime is up, police stations are closing and frontline police numbers have been cut, despite a 13.4 per cent increase in crime over the past year to 30 June,” Ms Bath said.
“Behind all of these statistics are the victims suffering these crimes and also the police trying to assist victims and apprehend offenders. The effect on the well-being and mental health of both would be significant.
“I know a lot of police in and around the district of my electorate and they are great people who embed themselves in the community and do their best to keep the community safe, but sometimes it must feel like the task is insurmountable.”
Media Contact: Renee Switzer 5174 7066