Burglary risk high in inner Melbourne

Burglary risks are high in inner Melbourne

While inner Melbourne hasn’t been in the top 10 most burgled suburbs since 2012, in general residents have a higher than average chance of being burgled.

This year’s state average is one in 67 homes. Similar to the 2014 statistics, about two-thirds of inner city homes are riskier than the state average.

Above average

Suburbs in inner Melbourne, in this series a 7km radius from the CBD, are generally more likely to be burgled than the state average.

Homes in Collingwood are twice as likely to be burgled than the rest of the state. Collingwood is now the 11th most burgled suburb, up from 43rd the year before.

Abbotsford, Flemington, Newmarket, Carlton North, Princes Hill and Parkville are also more likely than average to be burgled.

Brunswick West, Carlton South, Newport and Spotswood are similar to the state average of one in 67 homes.

On the safer side, homes in Albert Park are about half as likely to be burgled than the rest of the state.

Altona, Docklands and Southbank are also significantly less likely to be burgled than average.

Long-term improvements

The inner city has come a long way since RACV began compiling statistics in 1997.

In the 2014 series, demographer Bernard Salt told us the crime hotspots in inner Melbourne have moved to the city’s edge over about two generations.

He says this has especially been the case in Fitzroy and Carlton, and the statistics reflect a gradual drop in crime.

Police presence

When a burglary happens, as well as contacting the immediate neighbours, police find canvasing wider areas such as an entire street, provides better awareness and more reassurance.

“It alerts people that something has happened, as well as raises awareness, which could help contribute to a drop [in burglaries],” leading senior constable Glenn McFarlane says.

Police are also reinforcing the intelligence side, looking at figures for better targeting, as well as known offenders and recidivists, Glenn says.  

“But what we find is with any type of crime, if we’re intelligence-led we find you get displacement.

“If you target one area, you prevent it there, but the crooks realise there’s too many coppers here and move over there.”

Secure homes

Last year, leading senior constable Glenn McFarlane gave us security tips such as not leaving keys in the mailbox, and watching out for people following you into car parks.

He says these are still problems in inner Melbourne.

Simple things such as locking windows and doors, even in the heat, can go a long way, Glenn says.

“The crooks are lazy though … it’s all about opportunity so we’re trying to reduce the opportunity and increase the risk of being caught.”

Another problem is gardening tools, such as ladders, being used to break in.

“Storage in the inner city isn’t massive, so they tend to leave things out because they haven’t got the space to store it inside.”

Glenn advises considering alternatives to leaving gardening equipment outside. “How much do you use it? Are there other options? A hire place for example.”

Burglaries from storage cages is also a problem, and Glenn says to watch out for cars tailgating you in. 

It’s also important to report incidences to the building management in apartment buildings, so they are aware of the problems, Glenn says.

24-hour city

In January 2015, a one-year trial of 24-hour public transport was introduced in Victoria.

The one-year trial – run by Public Transport Victoria in partnership with transport operators, Victoria Police and other relevant agencies – will help assess the demand for, and effectiveness of, 24-hour weekend public transport services.

Safe city

The City of Melbourne works hard to make sure that people feel safe in the city, and even more on the weekends and during events, says Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

He says the city has come a long way in improving safety in the city over the past few years, working closely with Victoria Police and other agencies to ensure that the city is a safe place. 

“We have 68 CCTV cameras, and innovative safety initiatives such as Mega Taxi Ranks and the Salvation Army Youth Street Teams,” Robert says.

“We have also seen that late-night activations in the city can have a positive influence on safety; whether that be pop-up street stalls or laneways illuminated with string lights.”

The Lord Mayor also says it is pleasing that total crime is down in Melbourne.  

Avoid being a target

Everyone can take steps to improve security, RACV general manager home services Aaron Flavell says.

“It’s important to make your home a less attractive target.”

Aaron says part of a secure home is a change in behaviour.

“Locking the front door while you’re in the backyard is a simple change that doesn’t cost anything,” he says.

Other tips are to lock garden tools away, leave a pair of shoes at the front door and take in the bin and recycling the same day it is collected.

“For the best peace of mind, consider installing an alarm system with back to base monitoring, backed up with a CCTV surveillance system,” Aaron says.

Written by RACV
January 19, 2017