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Australia

Labor trumpets its more police policy as Victoria's crime rate falls

But the data also reveals the crime rate in the inner city is being rapidly outpaced by the rate of population growth.

Crimes per head of population in the Melbourne municipality – which includes the CBD, Docklands, Southbank, Carlton, North Melbourne, Kensington and Flemington – are the lowest they have been in at least 10 years.

For every 100,000 people, there were 25,125 recorded offences in the Melbourne local government area, a decrease of 9.7 per cent.

The drop in the crime rate was experienced citywide, falling in every local government area in metropolitan Melbourne in 2017.

There was also a drop in reported domestic violence incidents.

Family related incidents decreased to 75,061, down by 4.5 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Crime also fell in most of Victoria’s regions.

However, Latrobe, in Gippsland, Greater Shepparton and Mildura were among the five worst areas in the state for crimes per head of population.

Regional centres such as Morwell in Gippsalnd were among the worst places in the state for crime.

Regional centres such as Morwell in Gippsalnd were among the worst places in the state for crime.

Photo: Joe Armao

The new figures have provided the Andrews government with fresh ammunition in an election year in which crime promises to be one of the biggest topics of debate.

Less than an hour after the statistics were released, Police Minister Lisa Neville tweeted a picture trumpeting “the biggest drop in crime in 12 years” for offences per 100,000 people.

“With more police on the beat than ever before, the relentless work of Victoria Police is starting to make progress,” Ms Neville tweeted.

Despite the reduction in crime last year, the Coalition continued its law and order attack on the Andrews government.

The Opposition said a three-year increase in offences told the true story of the state of criminality since the Andrews government was elected in late 2014.

"These aren’t just statistics or numbers on a sheet," said Edward O'Donohue, the opposition's community safety spokesman.

"Every single one of these 504,070 offences represents people whose safety and security have been violated.

"That’s hundreds of thousands of Victorians plus their family and friends who have been left to deal with the distress of being victims of crime."

Suburbs such as Tarneit on Melbourne's fringe have seen a reduction in crime.

Suburbs such as Tarneit on Melbourne's fringe have seen a reduction in crime.

Photo: Twitter/@patty_mitchell

Debate about crime has often focused on outer suburbs including Tarneit in the west and Cranbourne in the south-east.

In Brimbank, which includes Tarneit, there were 13,275 criminal incidents, a 12.04 per cent reduction from 15,093 incidents in 2016.

In Casey in Melbourne’s outer south-east criminal offences dropped to 21,255 last year from 24,078 in total in 2016.

Casey falls within the marginal Cranbourne electorate, which Labor holds by just 2.3 per cent.

But in some suburbs within Casey, crimes had increased significantly.

In Clyde, offences have risen every year since 2011, reaching 164 last year most of which were burglaries and breaking and entering.

And the picture is less rosy over a five-year period.

Police statistics show the number of crimes has risen 11.9 per cent since 2013, and the number of crimes per person has risen 4.2 per cent.