New crime figures have revealed drug dealing and trafficking offences almost halved across Cardinia over the past year, dropping by 52 per cent in Pakenham alone.
The greatest reduction in drug offending has been among teenage boys; 22 recorded incidents down from 51 in 2015.
The cultivation and manufacturing of drugs similarly dropped by 30 per cent, and there were also fewer residents caught in possession of drugs.
But while drug offences were fewer, robberies doubled and Cardinia residents and businesses felt the impact of a significant jump in burglaries and home invasions.
Burglaries rose by 51 per cent in the 12 months to September end, often tied to property damage offences which jumped by 28 per cent among 20 year olds and 13 per cent among teenagers.
Divisional police superintendent Paul Hollowood said the rise in residential burglary was associated with increased housing construction across the shire, as new estates are being built to accommodate for the growth.
Crimes committed by teenage girls shockingly surged by 30 per cent, for the most part involving assaults, property damage and deception offences.
Young males across the shire were more likely to commit crime in their twenties than in their teens.
“Overall youth crime has been decreasing in the longer term,“ Superintendent Hollowood said.
“But more serious offences are being committed by a smaller group of youth offenders. In other words – the youth networked crime phenomenon.”
Transport regulation offences doubled while arson continued to increase, up 66 per cent from last year.
Superintendent Hollowood attributed this to the full deployment of Protective Services Officers in the region. He noted an increase in stolen motor vehicles being abandoned and then set alight by offenders.
Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Minister for Police Ed O’Donohue said new residents to the growing Officer community would be shocked that crime had risen a dramatic 61 per cent.
“Crime in Cardinia continues to surge, up nine per cent in the year to 30 September and an alarming 34 per cent since September 2014,“ Mr O’Donohue said.
“The Cardinia community has been deeply concerned with the attacks on the Pakenham police, the gang violence, home invasions and carjackings that until recently were virtually unknown to the area.”
For more information about the latest crime figures, visit http://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au/explore-crime-by-location.
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.