Crime statistics show a spike in sex offenses in Shepparton and a high rate of car thefts in Albury

The rate of sexual offenses in Greater Shepparton has more than tripled in a year, according to data from Victoria’s Crime Statistics.

In the year ending March 2022, almost 600 sex offenses were recorded in Greater Shepparton.

But a Victoria Police spokesman said the raw numbers didn’t show the whole picture.

Victoria Police say a perpetrator is largely responsible for the sharp rise in sex offenses in Shepparton.(ABC News: Margaret Burin)

“Each incident of sexual offense is of deep concern to police because of the traumatic and often lasting effects on the victim,” they said.

A 48-year-old Shepparton man has been charged with 367 child sex offenses including soliciting child pornography and grooming a minor for sexual offences.

All breaches were “contactless”, meaning they took place online.

Victoria Police said they are working closely with the Joint Child Exploitation Team to stop crimes like this.

“[We] will continue to work tirelessly to proactively identify child sex offenses and hold accountable those who prey on some of our youngest and most vulnerable people,” the spokesperson said.

Car theft constant problem in Albury

Meanwhile, north of the border, Albury has recorded the second highest rate of motor vehicle theft in New South Wales.

Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows the number of incidents in Albury was 3.4 times the state average.

But the officer in charge of Albury Police Station, Chief Inspector Ian Youman, said the statistics came as no surprise.

A car key in front of a blurred car in the background.
Albury residents are again urged to lock their cars as the town experiences a high number of opportunistic thefts. (ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

“It’s just one of those things that has been a constant problem in the Albury area,” he said.

Chief Inspector Youman said there were two different types of thefts, both opportunistic and targeted.

Much of the opportunistic crime happened where people left valuables like wallets, phones and bags in unlocked cars.

He said it was very rare for windows to be smashed.

“We have appealed to the public on several occasions to help us [by looking after themselves].”

He said the other type of theft they saw was for tools or equipment left in the trays of utility or work vehicles.

Police are urging residents to remove items from their trays where possible and always lock their toolboxes.

Above all, Chief Inspector Youman said educating the public has been key in helping them crack down on this type of crime.

“We have had a number of arrests due to the public telling us about people selling things or information about where things have been stored, leading to search warrants, recovery of property and charges,” he said. .

“So lock your car, lock your toolboxes and if you see any suspicious activity, please call us.”