Latest statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency show that arson offences have caused over $119 million in damage in the past five years, with over $19.5 million in damage recorded in the last 12 months. Vehicles were the most common type of property burnt in arson offences in the year ending 30 September 2016, with 1,312 burnt vehicles recorded by Victoria Police.
In the year ending 30 September 2016, Victoria Police recorded 4,480 arson offences across the state, at an offence rate of 74.0 offences per 100,000 population in Victoria. In five years the number of arson offences has increased by 33.6%, up from 3,354 offences in the year ending 30 September 2012.
The North West Metro region has consistently had the highest number of arson offences. In 2016, the Local Government Areas with the highest number of recorded offences were Hume (592), Greater Geelong (240), Casey (217) and Ballarat (168).
However, accounting for population figures, the Local Government Areas across Victoria with the highest rate of arson offences per 100,000 population were Hume (297.2), Pyrenees (275.3), Northern Grampians (240.2) and Central Goldfields (212.1).
As at 18 October 2016, 62.6% (2,803) of arson offences remained unsolved. There were 19.2% (862) of offences that resulted in an arrest and 10.6% (474) of offences resulted in a summons being issued.
Analysis of offender profiles showed that those offenders who committed single or multiple incidents of arson only had a higher average age than those offenders who committed other types of offences as well as an arson offence.
In the year ending 30 September 2016, over half of the bushfire offenders had committed an offence prior to committing their bushfire offence. Of these people known to police, the majority had committed an arson or criminal damage offence before causing a bushfire.
More information on arson offences can be found here, in this quarter’s spotlight.