BASS Coast has seen offences drop by 377 incidents or 12.4 per cent, compared to the year before, while South Gippsland has seen offences increase by 317 or 23.1 per cent.
In total, 2656 offences were recorded in Bass Coast, compared to 1687 in South Gippsland which had its highest number of offences in five years.
But Area Commander for the Bass Coast and South Gippsland region, Inspector Paul Bruders, said there was one offender earlier this year who contributed “significantly” to the number of offences in South Gippsland.
“The offender’s in custody now, but a lot of the offences committed were driving offences, which can include reckless conduct and other assault charges,” he said.
In South Gippsland, there was a 2475 per cent increase in ‘Other offences’, attributed to an increase in transport regulation offences after local police conducted public transport operations.
There were 98 fines issued on public transport, compared to zero the year before.
Inspector Bruders said when police run a transport operation, when in previous years they might not have, it can “blow out” the figures.
“Overall across South Gippsland and Bass Coast, the numbers are down a few hundred,” he said.
“And South Gippsland makes up about a third of the crime being committed in the area.”
In the year to June 2017, there were 26 charges of drug dealing or trafficking in Bass Coast and 17 for cultivating or manufacturing drugs, on the back of a series of raids by the area’s Drug Tasking Unit, predominantly raiding homes in Wonthaggi.
“The unit has been specialising in the drug issue and it’s based in the Criminal Investigation Unit with members from other areas and police stations,” Inspector Bruders said.
In Bass Coast, arson offences have dropped more than 66 per cent to 14, compared to 42 the year prior.
Inspector Bruders said police have been working proactively, focusing on key issues such as encouraging people to lock their cars and doors.
“There’s been a visible police presence, like traffic operations, and they act as a deterrent because people see the police out on the road and on the footpaths.
“We’ve been running number plate operations using Automatic Number Plate Recognition software, and we’re finding cars unregistered and often those people in the cars come to the area and do commit other crimes.”
Inspector Bruders said the recently launched Family Violence Unit, operating out of the Wonthaggi Police Station, is doing great work to stop domestic violence, targeting repeat offenders.