VICTORIA’S deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe says falling crime rates in the Melbourne CBD are promising signs the city’s culture has begun to change.
The figures obtained from Victoria Police, show street assault offences in the Melbourne CBD fell by 14 per cent in the past 12 months, and reported robberies were down 16 per cent.
Reported motor vehicle thefts and thefts from motor vehicles were down 25 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
The rolling annual figures to September also showed a drop in the number of offences relating to residential burglary (-24 per cent) as well as property damage (-10 per cent).
Mr Walshe said police were making gains in the area and the city’s culture was “starting to change”.
“The reduction in assaults in the Melbourne CBD is a promising sign,” he said.
“In fact, further analysis of the past three months alone – compared to the same three months last year – has shown a 27.5 per cent fall in street assaults in the city.”
But students living in the city like 20-year-old Daniel Tai and 19-year-old Hannah Loke, said the lower crime rates hadn’t eased their perceptions of safety.
“I’ve been in Melbourne since last February… (and) I don’t feel a difference in safety now as compared to previously,” Mr Tai said.
“The city feels like quite safe to walk around during the day. But late at night, and especially Friday and Saturday nights are the most unsafe.
“The statistics don’t really explain what causes these crimes, which might still happen,” he said.
Ms Loke said she felt most unsafe in the city at night.
“It’s still scary, especially when you’re walking home at night,” she said.
“There are less people around, and I was followed before, which happened at about 10pm.
“The statistics don’t necessarily mean that I feel safer.”
Mr Walshe said the Operations Rescue Unit would be supporting regional officers and transit police to conduct large-scale operations across the state in the coming months.
He said police would continue to focus on street robberies and knife crime, and carry out targeted operations in hotspots across the state.
Do you feel safe in the city? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.