THE crime rate was up 9% in South Gippsland for the year ending September 2020.

Whereas in Bass Coast, the overall crime rate barely moved, rising just 1.3%, possibly a reflection of the fewer numbers visiting and holidaying in the area while the ‘Ring of Steel’ was in place.

But the number of ‘family incidents’ increased by a concerning 29% in Bass Coast from 637 incidents in 2019 to 825 incidents in 2020.

The majority of affected family members were in the 25-34 age group with 186 of the 825 incidents, and 35-44 with 180 incidents but there were also a significant number of incidents recorded in the older age groups as well.

Worryingly though, 35.9% of criminal activity went unsolved by police.

The main crimes included breaches of family violence orders 261, criminal damage 202, theft 173, residential burglaries 151 and common assaults 115.

Wonthaggi 509, Cowes 369, Inverloch 177 and North Wonthaggi 146 had the most incidents.

In South Gippsland family violence incidents were up 3.6%, victim reports were up 7.8% and alleged offender involvements up 21.4%.

The incidents were concentrated in Leongatha 335 and Korumburra 331, admittedly at low levels, with Nyora 64, Mirboo North 60 and Foster 58 other places to record low crime levels.

In releasing the crime figures, a spokesperson for the Crime Statistics Agency said the pandemic and a range of associated offences made an impact.

“In the year ending September 2020, six new COVID-19-related breach of Chief Health Officer Directions offence codes were introduced. The outcome was that 32,713 of these offences recorded, driving the increase in Public health and safety offences across the state,” according to police.

“These COVID-19-related offences have increased the number of alleged offenders processed and incidents recorded.”

In the 12 months to September 30, 2020 the number of criminal incidents statewide increased by 4.2% or 16,652 incidents to 413,042.

The number of recorded offences increased by 4.4% or 23,229 offences to 551,710 in the year ending September 2020. In the last 12 months 1 in 17 offences were related to COVID-19 breaches.

Alleged offender incidents increased by 24.5% (40,109 incidents) to 204,068 in the last 12 months, while the alleged offender incident rate increased by 22.3% to 3469.9 per 100,000 population.

In the last 12 months, victim reports decreased by 4.6% to 295,323, business/organisation victim reports decreased by 7.0% to 78,417, as did person victim reports, a decrease of 3.7% to 216,906.

Family related incidents in Victoria increased 7.5% in the last 12 months to the highest on record, 90,056 incidents.

The rate of family incidents recorded increased by 5.7% to 1342.9 incidents per 100,000 population.