Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

CRIMINAL offences across Bendigo have decreased in line with state averages, according to the latest crime statistics.

Crime Statistics Victoria this week released its data for 2017, showing a significant drop in recorded criminal incidents in the City of Greater Bendigo.

However, the overall total of offences recorded by the organisation is the second highest among the past 10 years.

A total of 9274 criminal offences were recorded in Bendigo in 2017, down from 10,854 in 2016.

A drop of more than 12 per cent was also recorded in the rate of offences per 100,000 population, from 9817.1 offences per 100,000 to 8633.1 offences.

Property and deception offences were most prevalent in Bendigo, comprising more than half of all offences recorded.

Despite the overall fall in offences, cases of assault and sexual offences were up in Bendigo, with sexual offences seeing a spike of close to 20 per cent.

Across the state, the recorded criminal incident (a criminal incident can have one or more offences) rate was down 10.8 per cent from the previous year. The recorded offence rate was 8186.2 per 100,000 population, down 9.9 per cent from the previous year.

“In Victoria, rates for both recorded criminal incidents and offences decreased compared to the previous year, down 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively,” Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Catherine Andersson said.

“The decrease in recorded criminal incidents is driven largely by a reduction in incidents with a property and deception principal offence, down 14 per cent in Victoria in the last 12 months.”

It comes as Victoria Police continues to push the road safety message to motorists after six people died on the state’s roads over the Labour Day long weekend.

Bendigo was a priority area for Operation Arid, with State Highway Patrol members assisting local officers in conducting alcohol and drug tests on central Victorian roads.

Along with six deaths, over 500 drink and drug drivers were nabbed and 3129 speeding offences were detected during the four days of the operation.

In the Bendigo police service area, just two drink drivers and two drug drivers were detected, while seven unlicensed drivers were intercepted and a further 51 caught speeding.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said it was extremely disappointing that six families now have to deal with the reality of road trauma.

“With the tragic death of two motorcyclists, two drivers and two passengers in which five of the six occurred on country roads, our focus on high risk user groups and country roads will remain strong,” he said.

“Safe road user behaviour starts with every single one of us, when we get behind the wheel or the bike or even walk down the street.

“The operation may have finished however our members will still be focused on keeping you safe on the roads; there must be a responsibility for all road users to do the same.”

– Joel Peterson