According to the latest Victoria Police crime statistics, the city of Hume, which spans suburbs such as Broadmeadows, Campbellfield, Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park, is the riskiest in Victoria. One burglary per 37 houses has been recorded in Hume, well up on the statewide average of one per 67.
Riskier in the north
Digging deeper into the data reveals that the postcodes of 3047 (Broadmeadows, Dallas) and 3064 (Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Kal Kallo) are among the 10 riskiest postcodes in the state. Additionally, the Hume postcode of 3061 (Campbellfield) has one burglary per 55 homes, making it riskier than the average suburb.
Elsewhere in the north, Nillumbik (one burglary per 78 homes) and Banyule (one burglary per 83 homes) are both classed as safer than the average local government area. However, individual postcodes within these regions, such as Banyule’s 3081 (Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights), produce results that are riskier than their surrounding neighbourhoods.
The Dropping off the Edge 2015 report, released last year by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia, revealed that some of Hume’s postcodes are among the most disadvantaged in the state.
The report mapped disadvantage across the state based on more than 20 social indicators, and found some local postcodes are dealing with a complex web of disadvantage where long-term unemployment, criminal convictions, family violence and low levels of education are more prevalent than in other areas.
Specifically, Craigieburn has particularly high levels of housing stress and long-term unemployment, while Broadmeadows is one of the 40 most disadvantaged postcodes in Victoria and ranked highly in unemployment, rental assistance recipients, low family income, housing stress and family violence.
More police wanted
Debra Phippen, president of the Craigieburn Residents Association, says she is concerned about the crime data and would like to see an increase in the number of police officers in the city of Hume to deal with a range of issues including home burglaries.
“It seems that outer suburbs such as ours are under-resourced in terms of ‘feet on the ground’ and the geographical area which they are supposed to support is far too big for the numbers of police that we have. This has continued to be the case over at least the past 10 years, if not longer,” she says.
Minimise home burglary risk
Despite the alarming statistics, many people in Hume are working to address the local burglary rates with the hope of positive change.
Late last year Hume City Council ran three information sessions on how local residents can minimise the risk of a home burglary, and offered locals free fittings of anti-theft screws to car number plates in response to the more than 800 number plate thefts in Hume in 2015.
New Neighbourhood Watch
Earlier this year, Craigieburn resident Joanne Hardie established a local Neighbourhood Watch group (more information is available at the group’s Facebook page) for residents to work together to reduce crime in the area.
Joanne says the Neighbourhood Watch was begun because many people were becoming upset about the increase in crime.
“We want people to become more ‘neighbourly’ and get to know their neighbours better. We also want to educate the community on personal safety, such as making sure that they keep valuables out of sight and lock their cars and homes.”
Protect your property
Hume crime prevention officer, leading senior constable Jacqui Newman, says stopping crime needs a collaborative approach.
“As police members there is only so much we can do and it is important to educate the community on ways they can help themselves to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime,” she says.
For example, drivers can ensure their doors are always locked when they park their car, and remove items such as keys, wallets and GPS units from sight.
Jacqui attributes Hume’s burglary rate to an increase in population growth and housing developments, and encourages residents to do a self-audit of their houses to look at weak points of entry.
If you are burgled, she says, it is important to leave things as they are until police arrive.
“Police will want to see exactly how the place was left, and fingerprinting will also be done,” she says.
Jacqui says compiling a list of stolen property, including serial numbers where possible, will benefit the police.
RACV general manager home services Aaron Flavell says RACV members, particularly in Hume, Victoria’s riskiest local government area, need to take precautions to help prevent their home being a target.
“It is important that people always have their front door locked – whether you are in the kitchen preparing a meal or in the backyard hanging washing on the line,” he says.
“Many people are investing in expensive home security or CCTV systems, but even if you can’t afford one for your home, there are things you can do free of charge such as ensuring your letterbox is emptied daily and keeping your shed or garage locked at all times.”
Aaron also advises to keep valuables out of sight.
“Many burglars target small yet desirable items like smartphones, iPads and laptop computers. If you have windows visible from the street, don’t leave items like these lying around your house when it is unattended.”
Story: Kathryn Kernohan
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