Crime Spree

BY BELINDA NOLAN
VIOLENT crime is on the rise in Brimbank, with an alarming spike in armed robberies over the past month.
Sunshine Police are investigating 17 robberies and assaults committed in September, almost double the usual monthly average.
In the past month detectives have been called to 12 armed robberies, including a string of five service station raids and seven handbag snatches, along with five other robberies and assaults.
Sunshine Criminal Investigation Unit detective Senior Sergeant Fred Grove said violent crimes had risen significantly in recent weeks.
“Offences of violence have actually risen over the past month,” Snr Sgt Grove said.
“We’ve gone from an average of 8-10 a month up to 17, so it’s a substantial rise in serious crime.”
The statistics come following a spate of high-profile attacks committed in Brimbank’s borders in recent weeks.
In the most recent incident, a 13-year-old boy remains in hospital after being brutally bashed and stabbed by three men in Kings Park.
Police believe the boy was attacked in front of horrified witnesses after attempting to gatecrash a party.
In another terrifying attack, a Cairnlea resident was bashed with a metal bat and robbed on his way home from Ginifer Station on 8 September.
A man was also violently bashed in the Glengala Hotel toilets, while a 22-year-old international student was assaulted and robbed in Cairnlea.
Snr Sgt Grove said police were also investigating a string of bag snatchings committed in central Sunshine in the space of a week.
Many of the robberies were targeted towards elderly women.
In one case, an offender approached his victim from behind and cut her handbag strap with a knife.
A passerby who attempted to chase down the robber was also threatened with a knife.
Snr Sgt Grove told Star police had worked hard to drive down the statistics, with hundreds of officers flooding the city during operations targeting violence and street crimes.
“Much of it is just opportunistic,” Snr Sgt Grove said.
“Traditionally October is a month where things tend to peak a bit, particularly with the weather warming up but we actually seem to be having our rise in September.
“We will certainly be turning our attention to this and pushing extra police into the area to combat this.”
Police have yet to catch the person or persons committing handbag robberies and are urging residents to be wary, particularly around shopping centre car parks and transport hubs.
Anyone with any information about illegal activity is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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