POLICE will continue to focus on Bendigo’s late-night precinct after a dramatic increase in the number of crimes reported across the city.
The number of assaults across Bendigo last financial year rose by more than 36 per cent to 802 compared to the year before.
When family violence assaults are taken out, the figure was still almost a 30 per cent increase.
Total crime rose by 21.6 per cent, and car thefts rose by 26 per cent.
There was also a large spike in drug offences, up 18.8 per cent.
Bendigo Police Inspector Mark Edwards said the assaults were mostly happening at night.
“Commonly these assaults are occurring on the street between 8pm and 1am,” he said.
“This trend has been on the increase for some months now and we have been working hard to counteract this.
“The introduction of the Bendigo Tasking Unit has seen an increased police presence in and around the CBD during these hours.
“We have also been focusing on the Hargreaves Mall between 3pm and 5pm on weekdays to curb anti-social behaviour and assaults in this area between these times.
“We will continue to target crime hot spots identified from our intelligence along with recidivist offenders to actively target these people.”
Inspector Edwards said the higher level of drug offences was due to better enforcement.
“Drug offences are measured on how many people we arrest for drug related matters and this is an encouraging statistic and reflective of our work around these offences,” he said.
“The other areas of concern are our residential burglaries.
“We have a real dedicated team of detectives who have been working tirelessly on these burglaries.
“We have a very good clearance rate and most of our burglars are imprisoned.
“Our burglary statistics, although up, are still considerably below the state average.”
Inspector Edwards said half of the 645 thefts from a vehicle were committed on unlocked cars with valuables inside.“This is frustrating for police and the community need to be more vigilant by taking proactive steps to deter such crime,” he said.