INCIDENTS of crime in Brunswick and its neighbouring suburbs fell by more than 4% in 2021 to its lowest total in half a decade.
There were 3681 criminal incidents reported across Brunswick, Brunswick West and Brunswick East in the year ending on June 30, a decline of 4.3% from 2020, according to the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency.
The number of incidents reported in 2021 was the lowest since 2017, when 3642 incidents were reported.
Crime fell in all three postcodes and in most categories of crimes, but there was a significant increase in family violence incidents reported to police in 2021.
With 2182 incidents recorded in 2021, a decline of 3%, Brunswick had the most crime of any suburb in the City of Moreland, followed by Coburg, which had 1621.
In Brunswick West, 831 crimes were reported in 2021, down 5%, and in Brunswick East the number of incidents declined by 7.2% to 668.
The Moreland local government area recorded 9337 crimes in 2021. This was a fall of 13.5% from the previous 12 months. At a rate of 4992.7 incidents per 100,000 people, Moreland ranked 39th out of 79 municipalities in Victoria.
The victimisation rate of 3327.6 victims for every 100,000 people also fell by 4.8% to its lowest recorded rate for Moreland in more than a decade.
Police believe COVID-19 and associated lockdowns are the reason why crime has fallen in almost every part of Victoria. For the state, the criminal incident rate decreased 13% to 5232.4 per 100,000 people, as did the number of incidents, down 13.2% to 349,452 incidents.
Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said police had expected a “snap back” in crime after lockdowns ended, but that had not eventuated in the way it had in some other states. He partly attributed this to hesitancy to return to pre-COVID “normal”.
Crime in Brunswick at a glance
Total criminal incidents
compared to previous year
Source: Victorian Crime Statistics Agency
Property crimes – such as thefts, burglaries or vandalism – made up the lion’s share of offences in Brunswick in 2021.
Thefts made up 50.3% of all offences. The total of 1853 reported thefts in 2021 was a decline of 3.2%.
Surprisingly, in an area when most cars can be locked with the press of a button on a key ring, thefts from motor vehicles were the most common crimes across the board in the Brunswick areas with a total of 709 incidents reported.
Stolen bicycles continue to be a big problem with 242 offences recorded in the past year.
Burglaries, which make up about 10% of all crimes in Brunswick, Brunswick East and Brunswick West, rose significantly by 38.7%, with 376 incidents reported in 2021 compared to 271 in 2020. The sharpest increases were in Brunswick, which had 197 burglaries reported, and Brunswick East, with 104.
In contrast to the statewide trend, family violence incidents, including breaches of family violence orders, rose by a considerable 26.6% to 257 in the three Brunswick postcodes in 2021.
Perhaps reflective of a growing community wide consensus about the need for tight restrictions to quell the spread of COVID-19, there was a sharp fall in breaches of public health and safety offences in 2021 to just 43, compared with 203 the previous year.
Across Moreland, charges were laid from 25.7% of crimes reported, while 61.6% remained unsolved.