Lowdown on crime

Senior Sergeant Shane Madigan, right, and Sergeant Grant Langmaid watch over Ocean Grove. 151055


DESPITE recent burglaries, crime rates in Ocean Grove are much lower than the state average, says the Bellarine’s top cop.
Senior Sergeant Shane Madigan said social media pages, while providing great “eyes on the ground”, could exaggerate perceptions of local crime.
“Many of the stats haven’t increased – they’ve actually decreased,” he said.
“But the community down here doesn’t accept crime and we love that they are so passionate about preventing it.”
The Voice did its own analysis based on statistics released by the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency (CSA).
In 2015 crimes in Ocean Grove made up 2.3 per cent of all crimes in Greater Geelong.
Given the town is about five per cent of the Greater Geelong’s population, this number is relatively low.
In 2011, Ocean Grove crimes made up 3.1 per cent of the Geelong total, indicating crime is increasing here, but more slowly than in the city.
The crime rate in Geelong is marginally higher than the Victorian average, implying crime in Ocean Grove is much lower than the rest of the state.
However, burglary has plagued local homes and businesses, increasing by 116 per cent between 2010 and 2015.
This easily outstrips Ocean Grove’s population growth of 10 percent, according to Geelong Council’s 2010 and 2015 population estimates.
Police Minister and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said the State Government’s 2015/16 Budget included funding for an additional 15 police in Bellarine and Geelong.
“This is clearly an issue in Bellarine, and the additional police we’ve funded for the area will help improve frontline responses,” she said
The sharpest rise in burglaries – 37 percent – occurred between 2010 and 2011 (in the first year of the Baillieu government).
Local politicians, such as Western Victoria Region MP Simon Ramsay, have used local crime statistics recently to attack opponents.
“Thefts are up 150 per cent in Ocean Grove compared to 2013,” he said.
However, CSA chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said this was not the case.
According to CSA statistics thefts rose 49 per cent during this period.
Thefts increased 18.5 per cent from 2010 to 2015 (168 to 199). Thefts rose sharply to 245 offences in 2011 and dropped to 133 offences in 2013, before increasing again.
Between 2010 and 2015 the total crime in Ocean Grove increased by 17 percent.
CSA recorded increases in crimes against the person (83 per cent) and property crimes (16 per cent), while drug, public order and other offences decreased by 47, 44 and 75 per cent respectively.
Justice procedure offences, which include bail violations, increased by 300 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and doubled between 2014 and 2015.
Simon Ramsay and the Coalition recently criticised the Andrews Government for “wanting to water down” the Bail Act.