DETECTED drug offences more than doubled in the Northern Grampians police service area in the 12 months to March.
Police working in the region, which includes Ararat and Stawell, recorded 288 drug crimes between April last year and March.
Statistics were released on Wednesday.
There were 160 fewer offences in the 2012-13 reporting period.
Northern Grampians Inspector Wayne Barclay attributed the spike to increased police activity.
“Police continue to actively target drug-related crime through both local and tasked operations and patrols, resulting in an increase in the number of drug crimes detected and often offenders being charged,” he said.
Mr Barclay thanked members of the community for telling police about drug-related crime and urged them to continue doing so.
Total crime in the police service area rose by more than 40 per cent.
Crime against property jumped up more than 75 per cent.
But many charges affiliated with the category of offending reduced.
Theft of motor vehicles was down 40 per cent, while theft from motor vehicles dropped 22 per cent.
But Mr Barclay said people should not become complacent.
Reported crimes against the person declined, and detected assaults including family violence decreased.
Mr Barclay, however, said there was still work to be done.
Total crime in Horsham police service area rose by 7.3 per cent.
The largest spike was in the ‘other crime’ category.
Crime against the person was down almost 15 per cent.
Horsham Inspector Trevor Ashton welcomed the result.
“The offence category is predominantly driven by family violence and non-family violence,” he said.
“A concerted effort by all members and through building relationships with our key stakeholders has been the key to driving improvements in this area.
“What is of concern is the continued increase in property damage, residential burglary and theft from motor vehicle-related offences.”
Property damage jumped 22 per cent, residential burglaries increased by more than 20 per cent and theft from motor vehicles rose by 23 per cent.
Thirty-five vehicles were stolen in the 12 months to March, compared with 28 the previous 12 months.
Mr Ashton urged people to be vigilant about securing their homes and vehicles, and to keep an eye out for each other.