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NEWS DESK

Police focus on crime reduction, says chief Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au SOUTHERN Metro Region divisional commander Superintendent Glenn Weir last week downplayed a rise in crime in October-December last year. Crime Statistics Agency data released on Thursday painted a bleak picture: aggravated burglaries in Frankston surged 49 per cent in the past year – from 96 to 143, while motor vehicle theft was up 38.5 per cent – from 493 to 682. “We don’t deal with old data,” he said. “These statistics are three months out of date.” Theft from motor vehicles -- described by local police as “volume crime” because of its prevalence -- was up 10.6

per cent, from 1497 to 1655. “Over the past 18 weeks, we have overseen reductions in crime, which have been tracking down since the end of November,” Supt Weir said. He said the crime agency’s statistics, covering the 12 months to the end of December, had included a “bad October and November” in local crime which had “fallen since then”. “We still have a lot of concerns regarding high-end crime, such as aggravated burglaries and home invasions, but there have been consistent falls since the end of November,” he said. “It’s difficult for us. We try to focus on the real issues and on turning things around and we are confident that those reductions [in crime] will be repeated

across Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.” Skye had one of the largest increases in aggravated burglaries in the state in the final quarter of last year. There were 273 violent break-ins – up from 125 in 2015. The only other postcode to record a bigger increase was Ballarat. Other statistics showed:  Frankston: Crimes against the person 2311 – up 12.5 per cent; property and deception 8983 – up 13.8 per cent; drug offences 1225 – up 13.5 per cent; public order and security 1428 – up 4.3 per cent; justice procedures 3007 – up 24.2 per cent; other 25 – down 34 per cent.  Mornington Peninsula: Crimes against the person 1723 – up 12.5 per cent; property and deception 6453 

– up 5.6 per cent; drug offences 695 – up 0.4 per cent; public order and security 1223 – up 6.3 per cent; justice procedures 1943 – up 27.5 per cent; other 31 – down 11.4 per cent. In Frankston assaults were up 17 per cent; robbery up 30 per cent; dangerous acts endangering a person up 38 per cent; arson was up 44 per cent; deception 20 per cent; cultivating and manufacturing drugs 43 per cent; drug use and possession 22 per cent; public nuisance offences up 82 per cent. On the Mornington Peninsula, sexual offences were up 60 per cent; robbery 46 per cent; arson up 34 per cent; burglaries up 29 per cent; cultivating and manufacturing drugs 39 per cent; public nuisance offences up 57 per cent.

Superintendent Glenn Weir

Helpers flock to school after rampage Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au A “COUPLE of dills” who went on a vandalism spree at Rosebud Primary School last week are no match for the “many thousands of wonderful people” in the school community. Principal Stephen Fisher, who oversaw the clean-up and restoration of the heritage-listed before and after school care room, was speaking after a horror Labour Day weekend when vandals broke in and wrought havoc, early Sunday morning, 12 March. Mr Fisher said he had “never seen anything like” the destruction caused by the group which caused up to $10,000 damage to walls and floors, equipment, furniture and windows in their night of chaos. Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy from Kilsyth and say they will also charge two other boys aged 13 and 14 and a girl, 13, from McCrae. Mr Fisher said a fire extinguisher had been sprayed around the room before being thrown through a window. A two metre by one metre glass fish tank had been smashed causing water damage to the floor and killing fish. A TV set had been ripped off the wall and left smashed on the floor. Tubs of pens and pencils have been thrown around the room. Devastated as he was by the vandals’ assault, Mr Fisher was heartened by the strong community spirit shown by parents and pupils who arrived at the Jetty Rd school next day to clean up the mess and fix what had been broken. He was also thrilled with the generosity of local donors.

Scenes of despair: Some of the damage caused by vandals at Rosebud Primary School.

“It’s all been pretty emotional,” he said. “We’ve had an overwhelming past couple of days.” Mr Fisher said the school “did a shout-out on Facebook on Monday and pretty soon we had 70 adults and 30 children here putting back what hadn’t been broken”. All the walls had to be washed down, mess cleaned up, broken glass collected, furniture put back and the remains of the fish tank removed. Mr Fisher, who has been at the school for the past 37 years, said periodic vandalism was something “all

schools have to deal with – probably about once a month”. He said he was confident none of the alleged vandals had “anything to do with the school” as pupils. “The affinity we have between the kids, parents and the school is very strong and being involved in that sort of incident would be completely out of character,” he said. “We have an amazing welfare program where kids that are having issues can go. They become committed and protective of the school. Even kids who are a bit wayward love the place.”

He said he was distressed that teachers at before-and-after-school care had worked hard over the holidays getting the room ready for the start of the year. “The good thing is that it’s now back to being better than it was,” Mr Fisher said. A boy, 16, of Kilsyth, who has been charged over the vandalism spree has been bailed to appear at Frankston Children’s Court at a later date. A 13-year-old boy, of Rye, 13-yearold girl, of McCrae, and a 14-year-old boy, of Berwick, will be summonsed

to appear at Frankston Children’s Court at a later date. And a 13-yearold boy, of Rosebud, was interviewed but later released. Police believe the five youths may have been also been involved in burglary and theft from a number of cars in the Rosebud CBD and foreshore areas. Acting Sergeant Steve Drew, of Rosebud police, said items stolen from various vehicles have been returned to their owners.

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21 March 2017  

Southern Peninsula News 21 March 2017

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