Wodonga thieves lose their appetite for cars

WODONGA’S top cop is pleased with a “significant fall” in the city’s overall crime rate, including an almost 50 per cent drop in car thefts.

New Victoria Police statistics yesterday revealed the city had 116 less cars stolen and there were also 102 less incidents of theft from motor vehicles.

The figures, which compared the 12 months to December 2013 with a year earlier, were also positive for Wangaratta.

Wangaratta’s theft from motor vehicles was down 15 per cent (36 incidents).

The number of cars stolen also decreased — from 72 to 62.

Wodonga police’s Insp Tony Davis said he was happy there had been a steady decline in the number of property offences in the city.

“There are significant reductions that are a result of targeted police operations and successful investigations,” he said.

“These have identified the offenders responsible and they have been dealt with by the courts.

“The on-going policing priority towards repeat offenders is proving to be effective.

“Less crime means less victims of crime, so it is very pleasing to see the reduction in reported offences continue.”

Insp Davis explained the 12.4 per cent increase in crime against the person was “largely driven by the recent reporting of a large number of historical offences committed several years ago and a rise in non-family violence assaults”.

Drug offences at Wangaratta increased 42 per cent — from 297 to 422 offences.

Insp Dave Ryan, of Wangaratta police, said a lot of police work had been done to catch those with illicit substances.

“That increase is a result of work being done by police,” he said.

“We know there are far more drugs out there and that’s why we need the community’s help.

“We need young people to stand up and provide information to police on those individuals who deal drugs to their friends.”

There has also been an increase of crime against the person (20.7 per cent).

“We have continued to see an increase in assaults associated with family violence, about 50 per cent of the total assaults. This represents the continuation of a disappointing trend in the level of harm in, which so many of our community now live,” Insp Ryan said.

“My message is quite simple regarding family violence — it is time for all men in this community to stand up and say no to violence.”

Burglaries from houses in Wangaratta have also increased 40.7 per cent.

And despite some recent success in solving many of these offences, the number of people offending has still risen.

Insp Ryan asked residents to keep a look out and report people who were loitering or acting suspiciously.