There are fewer home invasions across Victoria than there was a decade ago, the state’s Crime Statistics Agency says.
Data released on Thursday shows the number of non-aggravated burglaries has plummeted almost 15 per cent over the past year.
There were 26,438 break and enters across the state in the year to March 31, down from 30,981 the year prior.
The number of aggravated burglaries also dropped about 12 per cent.
It comes following heightened debate around youth crime in outer Melbourne suburbs and increased policing to target home invasions.
“It’s a positive story, but whenever I say it’s a positive story with still more work to be done,” Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters on Thursday.
“We talk about crime stats, and it’s really important to remember that associated with each crime is a victim – you’ve got a person, someone that’s been subjected to something that they shouldn’t be.”
Mr Crisp said home invasions caused victims serious “angst and harm”.
There were 37 per cent fewer non-aggravated burglaries in Whittlesea in Melbourne’s outer north over the past 12 months.
There were 805 break-ins in the council area, down from 1284 the year prior.
The growing southeast Casey region saw 34 per cent fewer residential burglaries, down to 1110 from 1678.
Overall recorded offences per 100,000 people also fell from 8585 to 7773, or by 9.5 per cent over the year.
This reflected a decrease in both high-volume and high-harm crime, Police Minister Lisa Neville said.
“It really does represent the incredibly hard work that Victoria Police members have been undertaking right across the state, their determination to really make inroads into what was a number of years of a growing crime rate,” Ms Neville said.
“I’m hoping that this gives just a little bit of reassurance to Victorians that we are making some inroads. That it is heading in the right direction. That every effort is being put in from government, from police … to turn this around to make our community safer.”
However, recorded sexual offences jumped by 1586, or nearly 12 per cent, over the same period.
That trend is mostly driven by the introduction of new sexual offences such as revenge porn laws, and increased reporting of sexual offences.
“Whilst it’s disappointing to see the increase, we do still see it as a positive, the fact that we’re actually getting those reports,” Mr Crisp said.
It showed victims of sexual offences had more confidence and were more comfortable approaching police, he said.
Ms Neville added about 22 per cent of recorded sex offences were historical, which was “not unusual in a context where you’ve got a royal commission into child sex abuse and you want people to come forward”.
The opposition has campaigned hard on law and order before the November state election.
The Coalition accused the government of “spinning” the statistics, due to an additional 50,000 recorded offences in the four years since Daniel Andrews was elected Premier in 2014. It represents an additional 100 people per 100,000.
“The numbers don’t lie, even if Daniel Andrews does,” shadow police minister Edward O’Donohue said in a statement.