A SPATE of car thefts and burglaries in recent months in parts of the Mornington Peninsula has residents calling for more police action and tougher penalties to prevent recidivism.
In late January, senior police attended a meeting with victims of crime, residents and member for Mornington Chris Crewther to discuss the alarming rate of thefts and home invasions around the Mornington/Mount Eliza and Mount Martha areas in the past few months, and what could be done.
Crewther said he had been contacted by a large number of people recently and had raised the matter with Victoria’s minister for police Anthony Carbines.
He said one thing that came from the community meeting was concern over the high at the rate of recidivism among some offenders, and whether laws needed to be strengthened and more diversion programs introduced.
“There is a problem with recidivism, so there needs to be there some way of redirecting offenders away from crime, and that’s something I will push,” he said.
Crewther said police had made a lot of arrests recently and were doing what they could, but that “resources” were stretched.
Just two weeks ago three youths and an 18-year-old man were arrested by the Southern Metro Region Crime Team and are now facing a collective 60 charges following a string of burglaries and car thefts across Melbourne’s southeast and the Mornington Peninsula.
In January eight youths, including a 12-year-old, were remanded and a further 12 arrested following a string of property and vehicle crimes across the Mornington Peninsula and in Melbourne. Police allege the 20 were involved in 61 incidents between 23 December and 3 January, including aggravated burglary, theft of motor vehicle, burglary and attempted aggravated burglary.
Just weeks before, in early December, Southern Metro Regional Crime Team detectives arrested seven youths in relation to a series of alleged aggravated burglaries, including in Mount Martha.
In July six teens from the south eastern suburbs , including Frankston, Hastings, Carrum and Noble Park, were arrested over a spate of aggravated burglaries across Melbourne. Southern Metro Regional Crime Team detectives told the media at the time the group aged 15-17 years stole a white Suburu from Safety Beach and silver Land Rover from Mt Martha on 10 July.
Then over the following four days, police said they committed aggravated burglaries in Dandenong South, Mount Martha, Safety Beach, Mt Waverley, Edithvale, Mordialloc, Montmorency, and Eltham.
Some of the youth involved in recent thefts are believed to have been on bail at the time.
Police are advising people to take precautionary steps to deter criminals, including locking cars and homes at all times, not leaving keys out in sight, and considering CCTV.
While police data for the 12 months to September 2022 reveals the actual crime rate is comparatively low on the Mornington Peninsula, Local Area Commander Acting Inspector Ian Pregnell said even “one victim of crime is one too many”.
Available data shows that overall crime on the Mornington Peninsula is at its lowest level in a decade, with robberies also at their lowest rate in at least a decade and had halved year-on-year.
“While reductions such as these are highly pleasing, we understand every offence can result in a victim being left feeling shaken, vulnerable and threatened,” he said.
“Local police are patrolling all areas of the peninsula, day and night detecting, intercepting, arresting and holding preparators who seek to harm our community, to account.
“This strong approach will not stop with local police who are supported by specialists units including the Divisional Response and Crime Investigation Unit who are responsible for investigating and arresting some of our community’s worst offenders.”