There were 506,408 criminal offences recorded in Victoria in the twelve months to June 2023, representing an increase of 37,259 offences or 7.9% from the twelve months to June 2023.
When population growth is considered, overall crime increased by 5.7% year-on-year (7,494.4 offences per 100,000 people, up from 7,087).
When compared to pre-pandemic levels, overall crime is lower by 1.4% and 4.7% per 100,000 people.
Offences to record the greatest year-on-year increase included:
• Steal from a retail store (24,540 offences, + 6,852). This may be due to current cost-of-living pressures, with the theft of items such as liquor, groceries and clothes among the most common items stolen. Police intelligence indicates around a quarter of all shop steal offenders were first time adult offenders. Victoria Police continues to work with the National Retailers Association and major retailers, in relation to this issue, including providing target hardening advice.
• Theft from motor vehicle (52,855 offences, +6,199). The most common items stolen include registration plates and tradie tools. Stolen registration plates are often used to facilitate further offending such as petrol theft and other crimes. Theft (other) offences also increased. (18,692 offences, +5,802).
• Breach of bail conditions (16,819 offences, +4,605). These offences increased due to offenders failing to comply with their bail obligations before a subsequent warrant was issued for their arrest.
• Theft of motor vehicle (18,692 offences, +4,046). Driven by youth offenders targeting unlocked properties to steal car keys and increasingly luxury vehicles. More information around this trend is contained later within this release.
• Overall burglary/break and enter offences, which includes both residential and commercial properties also increased (37,188 offences, +7,601). Youth offenders drove an increase in residential burglaries, sneaking in and out of predominantly unlocked homes.
• Deception offences (30,677 offences, +3,407). Police intelligence indicates this was largely driven by an increasing number of online scams, such as Facebook Marketplace, ‘Hi Mum’, sextortion and romance scams. Victoria Police’s dedicated Cybercrime Squad continues to investigate offences such as these to hold scammers accountable.
Victoria Police arrested more people in the twelve months to June 2023 than the previous year and recorded the second highest number of arrests in the last decade. 66,239 people were arrested, charged, and fronted court (Only behind the 66,885 people arrested in 2017).
More detailed analysis of key areas of interest can be found below:
• Offenders aged 10 – 24 were responsible for 46,301 incidents – an increase of 8.1% year-on-year. However, overall offending in this age group remains below pre-pandemic levels.
• While overall youth crime is below pre-pandemic levels, Victoria Police is seeing younger offenders committing serious and violent crimes, as opposed to the low-level shop steal or graffiti offences previous generations may have become involved in.
• This is reflected in today’s data release, with 14- 17-year-olds responsible for 17,214 incidents – an increase of 3,576 incidents year-on-year (+26.2%) and 2,385 incidents from pre-pandemic (+16.1%). Those aged 14-17 were more frequently involved in serious offending than pre-pandemic, including crimes against the person (5983, +1080), assaults (3758, +724), burglaries (1928, +671), car theft (1495, +684) and robberies (1317, +259).
• The same trend was apparent with those aged 10 – 13, with this cohort responsible for 3,187 incidents – an increase of 877 incidents both year-on-year and from pre-pandemic (+38%).
• Victoria Police is currently targeting the state’s most serious and violent youth gang members under Operation Alliance. As part of Alliance, police are proactively monitoring 598 known youth gang members across 44 youth gangs. Police are having success diverting young people away from gangs, with 149 fewer youth gang members on the police watchlist than when Alliance was established exactly three years ago (747 in September 2020). In the past year alone, Operation Alliance has led to the arrest of 444 youth gang members a combined 1,630 times. A core group of 289 recidivist offenders were arrested more than three times, with 82 arrested more than ten times over the past year.
Burglaries and Car Theft
• There were 24,689 homes burglaries across Victoria in the twelve months to June 2023 – 4,801 more than the year before. Of the 24,689, 3007 were attempts only.
• While there has been a year-on-year increase, the overall number of Victorian home burglaries has not reached the highs seen earlier in the decade. For example, there were 29,771 homes broken into five years ago (twelve months to June 2018) – 5,082 more than current levels. The year prior saw 35,492 homes broken into – 10,803 more than currently.
• Car theft increased by 27.6% year-on-year, however, remains stable with pre-COVID levels (+0.3%).
• While overall home burglaries are at lower levels than earlier in the decade, a key area of concern for Victoria Police is the trend of mainly youth offenders targeting unlocked homes, sneaking in while occupants are home, and stealing cars from the property. Police intel indicates more than 95% of these aggravated burglaries have no confrontation.
• As a result of this trend, there were 5,467 aggravated residential burglaries recorded in Victoria, an increase of 1,537 offences or 39.1% year-on-year.
• Youths aged 14 – 17 committed 944 burglaries, up from 279 pre-pandemic.
• Offenders aged 10 – 13 committed 346 burglaries, up from 191 pre-pandemic.
• The seriousness of this offending is the reason Victoria Police has been allocating significant police resources towards a nightly Melbourne-wide operation named Trinity since March. This sees large numbers of local police working alongside the Air Wing, Dog Squad and Public Order Response Team every night to prevent burglaries and car thefts from occurring while the community sleeps.
• Since the end of March, Operation Trinity has led to 1,637 arrests during the evening hours alone, including 400 in connection to home burglaries and car thefts. Hundreds more are arrested in the days after crimes are committed, as teams of investigators across the state work to bring offenders to justice. This significant level of enforcement is having an impact – police intelligence indicates linked burglaries and car thefts across Melbourne have decreased by more than 40% since Trinity commenced in late March.
• Robberies increased by 494 offences or 21% year-on-year, however, remain 17.1% below pre-pandemic levels.
• Robberies are historically predominantly committed by youth offenders targeting other kids. This trend continued in the latest data, with 10 – 17-year-olds most commonly the offender (59.7%) or victim (42.1%) in a robbery.
• Robberies at schools are comparatively low, with only 30 committed at an educational facility – equating to 1.1% of all robberies committed in Victoria.
• Robberies that took place on a ‘street/footpath’ remained 39.3% below pre-pandemic levels. This figure includes all people robbed on a street or footpath – whether it be someone heading home after a night at the pub or a student on the way home from school.
• Victoria Police is doing everything possible to keep robbery rates low, including targeting serious and violent youth offenders as part of Operation Alliance, running Omni Operations to identify and prevent the carriage of weapons around busy community locations, and deploying intelligence led patrols to areas of concern.
Broader crime trends
• Overall crimes against the person increased by 2.7% year-on-year, with crimes such as non-family violence common assault and robbery driving this increase. Offences to reduce included stalking and harassment, rape, and dangerous and negligent acts endangering people.
• Overall property and deception offences increased by 15.6%, however remain 5% below pre-pandemic levels. Outside of pandemic afflicted years, there were the lowest number of property and deception offences in the past decade.
• Overall drug related offending remained stable (+0.7%). Dealing/trafficking (+ 2.4%), cultivate/manufacture (+18%), and use/possess (+0.8%) all increased following sustained police enforcement.
• Family violence related offending slightly increased year-on-year (+1.8%). Breaches of family violence orders also rose by 5.6% from the year prior. The number of family violence order breaches is significantly higher than pre-pandemic (+22.9%).
Quotes attributed to Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations Neil Paterson
“While crime in Victoria has increased from the state’s pandemic affected years, the overall crime rate remains 1.4% below pre-COVID levels.
“When factoring in population growth, overall crime is at its second lowest levels in the past decade – only beaten by the twelve months to June 2022 which were heavily impacted by COVID restrictions.
“There have also been less victims of crime then before the pandemic, with around 2,800 less people impacted by crime than in the twelve months to June 2019.”
“While this is positive, there are a number of areas of concern that Victoria Police will continue to focus on, including youth crime, home burglaries, car thefts, and firearm related violence.
“We are making significant strides in each of these areas, as we continue to prioritise our resources according to the latest crime trends, community concerns, and ultimately where we can prevent the most harm.
“Police are reducing the prevalence of linked burglaries and car thefts. Since Operation Trinity commenced in March, there has been over 1,600 arrests and a 40% decrease in this type of offending.
“This operation will continue every evening until dawn, targeting those seeking to sneak into homes while people are home.
“We also continue to apply extreme pressure to our most serious and violent youth offenders under Operation Alliance. In three years, we have managed to decrease the number of known youth gang members in Victoria by almost 20%.
“However there remains a core group of around 290 recidivist youth offenders’ who are the main challenge.
“To provide the community a degree of comfort, we are well placed to proactively manage these people, limit opportunities for offending and when they do offend, arrest them immediately.
“Police made 1,630 youth gang arrests over the past year and this will continue as we hold anyone who compromises community safety accountable.
“The VIPER Taskforce continues to zero in on those involved in organised crime and firearm related violence.
“In the twelve months to June this year, VIPER made 342 arrests, conducted 564 Firearm Prohibition Order searches, seized 79 firearms, and made 789 drug seizures.
“Those heading into the CBD and surrounds over the coming days and weeks for the Grand Final parade, big game on Saturday, and school holidays will also see plenty of police patrolling to ensure everyone is celebrating a special time of year in our city responsibly.