Bec Judd takes Brighton crime wave claims to Dan Andrews but who is right?

Bec Judd takes Brighton crime wave claims to Dan Andrews but who is right? 2
Advertisement

Bec Judd has pointed to crime data to back up her claim that a terrifying crime wave is gripping her rich suburb as she wages bitter war with Premier Dan Andrews.

Advertisement

The footy WAG last week sparked uproar when said she felt ‘unsafe’ in her $7.3million mansion in Melbourne’s wealthy Bayside suburb of Brighton.

Judd claimed the Victorian Government didn’t ‘seem to care’ about the ‘rapes, bashings and home invasions at the hands of the gangs in Bayside’.

Advertisement

Mr Andrews dismissed her claims as ‘sweeping assessments’ and insisted: ‘I’m sorry she feels that way. The data would tell a different story.’

Crime statistics for the area tell a more complicated story than either of their assertions, and a new police task force has been formed to tackle youth crime.

Bec Judd has hailed damning statistics which back up her claims about a terrifying crime wave gripping her leafy suburb in her bitter row with Premier Dan Andrews

Bec Judd has hailed damning statistics which back up her claims about a terrifying crime wave gripping her leafy suburb in her bitter row with Premier Dan Andrews

Certain crimes in the area have noticeably increased over the past 10 years and hit record highs, with home break-ins quadrupling since 2014 and aggravated robberies at their highest in five years.

Advertisement

However, Bayside has the second-lowest overall crime rate in Melbourne, with just 4,300 offences per 100,000 population – down more than 24 per cent on 2020 – compared to more than 10,000 offences per 100,000 in the similarly wealthy suburbs around nearby Toorak.

Bayside Local Area Commander Inspector Cath Wilkins admitted to The Australian that there ‘has been an increase in offences recently’.

But she said that while the suburb had ‘seen a number of serious incidents recently, Bayside remains an overwhelmingly safe place to live.’ 

Judd maintained crime was worsening in her neighbourhood and credited her attack on Mr Andrews with the creation of the new police taskforce.

Advertisement

‘I’m glad my voice has shone a light on the escalating aggravated burglaries in Bayside,’ Judd claimed to The Australian.

‘[While] we are thankful for low non-aggressive crime rates, the increasing nature of home invasion-type crimes in our local community is what makes residents, particularly women, feel unsafe.

‘I welcome Operation Ibis and the extra 500 police promised to the people of Victoria.’

Dan Andrews dismissed her claims as 'sweeping assessments' but new figures show crime in the area HAS exploded in recent years, with home burglaries quadrupling

Dan Andrews dismissed her claims as ‘sweeping assessments’ but new figures show crime in the area HAS exploded in recent years, with home burglaries quadrupling

Advertisement

Ms Judd triggered the storm last week when she posted details of recent home invasions in the area on Instagram.

‘I personally know two women who have experienced home invasions in Brighton in the last few weeks while they were at home,’ she said.

She reposted CCTV footage of a group of young men lurking outside properties in her affluent suburb and claimed it made her feel ‘unsafe’.

The teenagers, who were allegedly armed with knives, were filmed lurking outside several properties in the Bayside area before crashing a stolen BMW into a tree.

Advertisement

Mr Andrews insisted the crime statistics did not back up her claims though and said he was ‘not interested in having an argument with Ms Judd’.

But he added: ‘I’m also obliged to point out though, I think there are more than 70 additional police in the Bayside area.

‘And the most recent crime statistics released by an independent agency would not support those sweeping assessments about patterns of crime. 

‘I say this respectfully to Bec Judd, or anybody – I don’t want anybody to feel unsafe. I’m sorry she feels that way. 

Advertisement

‘The data would tell a different story, but it is about personal feelings and your sense of safety.’

However, those 70 extra police referred to by Mr Andrews were part of a three year task force that ended in 2021. 

Bec Judd said she was 'glad my voice has shone a light on the escalating aggravated burglaries in Bayside'

Bec Judd said she was ‘glad my voice has shone a light on the escalating aggravated burglaries in Bayside’

Crime statistics show the Bayside LGA last year hit a 10-year record high of 105 residential burglaries, almost double 2017’s tally of 54, and four times the number in 2014.

Advertisement

The figure is proportionately lower than around Toorak in the Stonnington LGA where there were 103.1 cases per 100,000, while Bayside was 98.2 per 100,000.

The stats also show Bayside locals are more likely to be attacked by someone in their own family than by a stranger bursting into their home. 

Family violence assaults went up from 127 in 2020 to 150 in 2021, also a record high, and almost triple the 2013 total of 52, after a steady consistent rise over the past decade.

Common assaults outside the home have also increased year on year, recording the second highest figure in 10 years with 85 offences in 2021, while aggravated robberies also hit an all-time high of 29 cases, up from 12 in 2019.

Advertisement

The area also suffered four homicides, more than any other year in the past decade.

By comparison, suburbs around Toorak suffered less than three homicides – down from 8 in 2019 – while the area also saw 288 common assaults, the second highest in 10 years, and 60 aggravated robberies, up from 42 the previous year.

Bec Judd (pictured) kickstarted a celebrity-led campaign against escalating violent crime making her suburb unsafe

Bec Judd (pictured) kickstarted a celebrity-led campaign against escalating violent crime making her suburb unsafe

The main strip of Brighton has been hit by opportunistic thieves in recent times

The main strip of Brighton has been hit by opportunistic thieves in recent times 

Advertisement

Victoria Police last week launched Operation Ibis with 500 officers targeting youth crime in the area, which has already arrested and charge 14 alleged offenders.

In the past 18 months, Brighton has been rocked by the rape of a 16-year-old girl, the stabbing of a teenage boy, and two 10-year-olds attacked by a gang of knife-wielding teens.

An 83 year old man was also confronted by teens armed with knives who tried to steal his car from his home, while just this weekend two boys aged 13 and 14 broke into another home and stole two cars.

Just as the statistics tell a complicated story about crime in Brighton, locals are divided about whether the area is less safe than it used to be. 

Advertisement

Daily Mail Australia spoke to a mix of residents and shopkeepers along Brighton’s main strip, which is littered with well-to-do cafes, boutiques and restaurants. 

Scared: 'So sick of the rapes, bashings and home invasions at the hands of the gangs in Bayside,' Bec Judd wrote to Instagram

Scared: ‘So sick of the rapes, bashings and home invasions at the hands of the gangs in Bayside,’ Bec Judd wrote to Instagram

Brighton shop keeper Lyla

Nicola (left) and Johanna said they felt safe in Brighton

Brighton shop manager Lyla (left) said she noticed anything out of the ordinary in Brighton while Nicola and Johanna (right) said they felt safe there 

One shopkeeper, who did not wish to be named, said her salon had been targeted numerous times by opportunistic thieves in recent times.

Advertisement

Attacking in the dead of night, the crooks had smashed their way into the Church Street shop and helped themselves to whatever they wanted. 

So concerned about the thefts, iron bars have now been erected outside, caging the shop in when the sun sets. 

‘It’s a smash and grab thing. They smash our window, they grab whatever they want and they run away,’ the female shop owner said. 

‘During the two years of Covid, it didn’t happen because police were patrolling the area… but as soon as everything unlocked then we got broken into twice in a month.’

Advertisement

While the bars outside the salon would not look out of place in most retail outlets west of the city, here, they are an anomaly. 

‘At least now I can sleep at night,’ the shop owner said. 

Former My Kitchen Rules star Zana Pali weighed in to supper her  friend Bec Judd after buying a plot of land in Brighton, Melbourne's fourth wealthiest suburb, last September

Former My Kitchen Rules star Zana Pali weighed in to supper her  friend Bec Judd after buying a plot of land in Brighton, Melbourne’s fourth wealthiest suburb, last September

They don't call it 'leafy Brighton' for nothing. Residents in the well-to-do suburb fear a crime wave is afoot

They don’t call it ‘leafy Brighton’ for nothing. Residents in the well-to-do suburb fear a crime wave is afoot 

Advertisement

It is a similar story along the strip of shops, where at least two others businesses have recently fallen victim to repeated opportunistic smash and grabs. 

Up the road, crowded around a popular coffee shop, two Brighton locals tell Daily Mail Australia they too are aware of a spate of ugly incidents. 

Home invasions and car thefts are crimes not overly familiar on home soil in these parts. 

‘We’ve heard about car thefts just around the corner here,’ they said, gesturing toward another well presented street. 

Advertisement

Sitting on the cold footpath desperately trying to keep warm, Ronnie had only a few coins in his paper cup. 

The homeless man has spent the best part of three years living on and about the streets of Brighton, where people tend to be more generous, he said. 

Homeless man Ronnie has called the streets of Brighton home for years. He said he continues to feels safe there

Homeless man Ronnie has called the streets of Brighton home for years. He said he continues to feels safe there 

While some locals told Daily Mail Australia they associated the reported influx in crime with a return to the streets of Melbourne’s homeless, Ronnie said he had never felt safer getting about Brighton. 

Advertisement

‘We started coming out here when they tossed us out of the CBD during Covid,’ Ronnie said. 

‘People out here are just amazing. They are beautiful people out here and we get a lot of help. ‘

Ronnie said he had not seen a single crime committed since returning to Brighton post Covid. 

‘I have seen absolutely nothing. I mean you go into Coles and there is no security guard in there. You go to Woolworths and it’s the same there. So I’d hate to think that crime is coming to Brighton because it’s always been so safe,’ he said.

Advertisement

Situated about 11km out of Melbourne’s CBD, Brighton is the playground of the rich and famous.

Crime wave: Cabbie inspectors checking out a vehicle was the only sniff of a crime possibly occurring in Brighton on Tuesday

Crime wave: Cabbie inspectors checking out a vehicle was the only sniff of a crime possibly occurring in Brighton on Tuesday 

It’s a suburb where hired help use high pressure hoses to spray leaves off the road during a rain storm.

Employees from households walk dogs in the rain and gardeners put on raincoats and continue cutting the hedges. 

Advertisement

The suburb made headlines last week when Judd, a fellow resident and social media influencer, claimed she felt ‘unsafe’ in her $7.3 million mansion. 

Pali backed her up via Instagram on Monday night, stating there was a ‘clear target’ on the Bayside which was causing ‘anxiety and fear among the community’.

The mother-of-two claimed ‘it was only a matter of time before someone gets killed’ and said she had received ‘countless’ messages from other worried locals who said they were scared to sleep at night in fear of being robbed.

Zani Pali - a Melbourne lawyer (pictured) who lives in her Brighton mansion with her husband Gianni Romano and their two children - claimed she hired private security

Zani Pali – a Melbourne lawyer (pictured) who lives in her Brighton mansion with her husband Gianni Romano and their two children – claimed she hired private security

Advertisement
Bec Judd takes Brighton crime wave claims to Dan Andrews but who is right? 3

Bec Judd takes Brighton crime wave claims to Dan Andrews but who is right? 5

Pali took to Instagram on Monday night and claimed there was a clear target’ on the Bayside which was causing ‘anxiety and fear among the community’ (pictured)

Brighton resident Lyla, who like everyone else wished to remain at least partially anonymous, said while Brighton residents weren’t used to seeing homeless people on their streets, she too had heard stories of home invasions. 

‘But on the street I haven’t personally noticed anything out of the ordinary. There was a wave of shops being broken into.’

‘There have been home invasions, I’ve seen it, but I haven’t heard it’s anything more than what usually goes on.’ 

Advertisement

Court sources have told Daily Mail Australia a good friend of a well respected judge had been the victim of one such attack. 

Other Brighton locals claimed kids wearing ‘sh**ty tracksuits’ had caused some fear among the general population. 

‘There’s been like gangs of youths. I sit here and go “they’re not from Brighton”. I think it’s the way they dress, they’re all just wearing sh**ty tracksuits and they look like bogans,’ one woman said. 

‘You need to go to Elwood. There’s a lot of crime in Elwood at the moment,’ her friend said.

Advertisement
'The most recent crime statistics released by an independent agency would not support those sweeping assessments': Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rubbished Rebecca Judd's claims about crime in her affluent suburb of Brighton

‘The most recent crime statistics released by an independent agency would not support those sweeping assessments’: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rubbished Rebecca Judd’s claims about crime in her affluent suburb of Brighton

Steve Wolf (pictured) said his ritzy Melbourne suburb of Brighton is now more violent than Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro

Steve Wolf (pictured) said his ritzy Melbourne suburb of Brighton is now more violent than Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro

Local man, Steve Wolf, claimed the ritzy suburbs had become ‘astronomically worse’ since he moved to Brighton in February 2019.

Mr Wolf said in recent months his front gate was smashed, people with knives slashed a Liberal Party sign on his fence, and he’s been the victim of an attempted carjacking while driving his Ferrari.

Advertisement

‘I’m frightened to have my daughter over to stay with me — she’s only 11,’ he told Neil Mitchell on Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Back on the streets, Bayside blow-ins from across the walk happily strolled along the main drag to catch-up for lunch. 

Nicola and Johanna said they felt safe in Brighton and had heard nothing more than reports of a few online ‘Gumtree’ scammers using the location to hoodwink locals. 

‘We go out for lunch once a week in Brighton and we’ve never had any issues, but now I’m a bit worried. Should I look over my shoulder?’ Johanna laughed. 

Advertisement

Official data from Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency showed total criminal incidents in the Bayside Local Government Area were down 18.8 per cent from 2020 to 2021. 

In the Brighton part of Bayside, where the Judds and Mr Wolf live, there were 999 incidents in 2021, down from 1,153 in 2020. 

As Daily Mail Australia endeavoured to cordon-off more locals to address the reported crimewave, one elderly resident couldn’t help but offer an opinion. 

Dressed smartly in the kind of ensemble one would expect from a lifelong residents of the jewel in Bayside’s crown, she suggested what perhaps the Victorian premier was thinking. 

Advertisement

‘It’s a beat-up,’ she said.  

Brighton Beach train station appears clean, safe and lined with security cameras

Brighton Beach train station appears clean, safe and lined with security cameras 

Advertisement

Advertisement