Comparing our crime stats

Castlemaine's Sergeant Mick Peckham and Constable Sean Robinson outside the town's police station.

Mount Alexander Shire has a consistently higher crime rate per head of population than its Macedon Ranges Shire neighbour, the latest Crime Statistics Agency data indicates.
The new data shows the offending rate in Mount Alexander was 5632.3 per 100,000 of the population over the 12 months to the end of March this year with a total 1095 offences recorded.
Across the border in Macedon Ranges a total 2421 offences were recorded for the same period but the actual rate of offending per 100,000 of the population – was lower at 4899.2.
It’s an observation that may mean little in isolation but appears to be worth noting given it is a pattern that has been repeated for each consecutive year of the statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency going back to 2009.
While it’s not clear what’s behind the consistently higher offending rate in Mount Alexander, Castlemaine’s Sergeant Mick Peckham suggests the presence of three of the state’s prisons within the shire may be a factor.
“I just wonder if crimes reported from the local prisons inflate those figures somewhat,” Sgt Peckham said when the Midland Express canvassed his opinion.
“That’s a potential area to look at. We have Loddon Prison, Middleton Prison, Tarrengower Prison.
“The only thing that I can think of that probably sets the Castlemaine and Mount Alexander area apart from comparable stations would be that Castlemaine has three prisons in its area and we do get a lot of work from reported crime occurring within the prisons.”
His observation comes after local police were recently involved in an inter-agency car search operation checking visitors entering Loddon Prison grounds in an effort to crack down on potential contraband entering the prison.
That operation produced some interesting results including drugs, knives and a set of knuckledusters.
Sgt Peckham said a Melbourne man aged in his 20s was expected to face the magistrates court in relation to the knives and knuckle dusters that were found in his vehicle during the operation about three weeks ago.
The operation involving police and Corrections Victoria is likely to be repeated at an unspecified time later this year.
Both local government areas recorded a decrease in offending as compared to the previous 12 months to March 31, 2017 – when Mount Alexander recorded an offending rate of 6233.4 – and Macedon Ranges 5340.8 – per 100,000 of the population.