Accoding to the statistics Victoria has become the nation’s murder capital after a crime surge that saw the number of murders increase by nearly a third in the past year, the first large jump in five years.
The state has recorded more murders than NSW and Queensland in the past 12 months.
There were 66 murders in Victoria last year, according to the latest crime statistics, while NSW recorded 57 in the same period and Queensland had 51.
The murder rate had remained relatively stable in Victoria since 2011/12, with the number of killings hovering between 49 and 54 until the spike in 2015/16.
Victoria has been struggling with an escalation in gun violence in the past year but Police Minister Lisa Neville said deaths from firearms had decreased in the most recent figures.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the increased crime rate was a trend that began six years ago. He described the latest figures as a “challenging set of crime statistics”.
Mr Ashton said the homicide rate fluctuated over time but over the long-term tended to be stable. However, he said the homicide squad had experienced a very busy year.
Earlier this week, a man was charged with murder over a fatal daylight shooting at a busy shopping centre car park in Melbourne’s north.
While the raw murder rate has not been adjusted for population growth, the “homicide and related offences” rate per 100,000 people was also up 17.3 per cent in Victoria last year.
Offences related to homicide include driving causing death, which climbed 26.2 per cent in the past year. It was also the first significant spike in that category in five years. Victoria’s road toll has risen 16 per cent from last year.
The latest release from the Crime Statistics Agency shows Victoria’s overall crime rate was up 13.4 per cent last year, with 535,826 offences committed in the 12 months to June.
Crime Statistics Agency Chief Statistician Fiona Dowsley said that while the total number of unique offenders had increased, there was a drop in the number of recorded offenders under the age of 25.
“Over the last year we have seen a four per cent drop in the number of offenders under 25, with the greatest change seen amongst 15 to 19-year-old offenders which dropped by 5 per cent,” she said.
Police Association Assistant Secretary Bruce McKenzie said Victoria need a boost in police numbers to ensure it kept pace with population growth.
“On Grand Final week, we ought to be reflecting with pride on Victoria being the nation’s sporting capital and not with shame as its undisputed crime capital,” he said.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the latest statistics showed Victoria was being hit by a “crime tsunami”.
“Make no mistake, these crime statistics are the result of Daniel Andrews’ cuts to police, closing of police stations, and weakening of bail laws,” he said.
In the past year there were 20 murders in South Australia, five in the Northern Territory and two in Tasmania. Western Australian and the ACT didn’t state how many homicides were classified as murder.
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