Reports of crime in Victoria have fallen to their lowest level in three years, with the latest annual crime statistics revealing a 7.8 per cent drop in the criminal incident rate.
The latest statistics from the Crime Statistics Agency Victoria show the criminal incident rate fell to 5,921 cases per 100,000 people in the last financial year.
That’s down from 6,420 a year earlier, and 6,432 the previous year.
The offence rate also fell, dropping 7.0 per cent to 7,835.
Victoria Police deputy commissioner Shane Patton said the number of victims had dropped by 24,000 over the year to the end of June.
“The statistics speak for themselves,” he said.
“Whilst we acknowledge any crime is one crime too many, when you can see these type of results, it’s some validation — it’s some vindication that we are heading in the right direction.
“That’s been proven over the last few years and we believe that we will continue on with that trend.”
Sex crime figures rise
Despite the drop in overall crime, the reporting of sexual offences continues to rise significantly, with police now dealing with more incidents of rape (3,303) than graffiti (2,673).
The overall number of sexual crime incidents jumped 13.3 per cent in the past financial year.
Of the 8,644 sexual offences recorded in the state, the vast majority were indecent assault (3,616) and rape.
There were also 241 cases of incest.
The rate of sexual offences has risen every year since at least 2013, and jumped 16 per cent last year.
Ups and downs
Stealing from a motor vehicle remains the state’s most common crime, with a total 51,094 incidents recorded, down from more than 58,000.
At the other end of the scale, there was one case of slavery and sexual servitude, two cases of pedestrian offences, and three of bribing officials.
The City of Melbourne area had the highest rate of overall incidents (15,949.9), followed by Latrobe (12,896.1), Yarra (11,119.2), Mildura (9,222.0) and Greater Shepparton (9,111.8).
Across the state, rates of family violence categories such as common assault (182.0), serious assault (117.7), threatening behaviour (33.3) and stalking (16.8) all fell.
The statistics also revealed:
21 terrorism offences were recorded last year; only two had been previously recorded
Firearms offences remain at over 2,000 incidents for the third year running, more than double the number in 2010 (957)
Begging offences more than doubled to 182 — up from 86
Only one incident of drug driving was noted, and it is just the fourth in a decade
Incidents of drug trafficking fell (2,798 cases), as did drug possession (10,714), though from a decade-high
However, the lesser crime of drug dealing was at its highest rate in a decade (28)
Hoaxes (189) have more than doubled since 2013 (95)
Environmental offences (36) hit a decade high (up from 14 in 2011)
Bicycle theft jumped to its second-highest level in a decade, with 6,158 bicycles stolen — up from 3,853 in 2011
Incidents of prostitution fell to a decade low of 23, down from 142 in 2012
Hacking (19) also fell to its lowest level in a decade; in 2011, 45 cases were recorded
Bribery of officials is also at a decade low (three incidents, down from 21 in 2012)
Brimbank is the state capital for abductions, with eight incidents reported
The Hume, Darebin and Greater Dandenong areas had the most incidents of vehicle thefts
Greater Geelong recorded the highest number of drug cultivation incidents (43), graffiti (181) and cruelty to animals (9), while blackmail (12), extortion (4) and a range of other crimes were highest in the City of Melbourne.