Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Govt to tackle violent crime increase

The Victorian Government says it will tackle the rising level of violent crime in the state.

Leaked police data shows crimes committed against people are increasing, especially robberies, abductions and assaults.

The figures also show the total crime level has fallen slightly, but a smaller proportion of cases are being solved.

The Opposition says it is clear the Government needs to put more resources into Victoria Police.

But Premier John Brumby says the Government is already tackling alcohol abuse and violent crime.

"We intend to keep up with our efforts in public education, in things like tougher liquor-licencing laws, the Safe Streets Taskforce, all of those things which are about cracking down on binge drinking, cracking down on alcohol abuse and cracking down on night-time violence," he said.

Overall drop

The total crime rate has fallen, as have the number of homicides and rapes.

The Opposition and the Police Association say the figures show the force is under-resourced.

But the Deputy Police commissioner, Kieren Walshe, says new initiatives have been introduced to tackle violent crime.

"There has been a deterioration in public order and we've seen an increase in assaults in and around licensed premises," he said.

"Hence, we released and started our Safe Streets Taskforce in October last year and more recently this year we started our Liquor Licensing Taskforce."

The Opposition Leader, Ted Baillieu, says the figures for violent crime show fewer crimes are being solved.

"Dropping clearance rates simply means that police are stretched to the limit," he said.

"They're under the pump, and they can't do what they want to do."

Deputy Commissioner Walshe said the crime statistics are provisional figures and have not been verified.

He says there will be an investigation to find the source of the leak.

"We in Victoria Police are extremely disappointed that that has been undertaken," he said.

"Our concerns is that it provides unnecessary concern in the community until such time as we're in a position to put out verified crime statistics."


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