CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses allegations of rape and physical abuse.

Just when we thought things were calming down a bit, a new war of words has kicked up between Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and influencer Bec Judd (and a heap of affluent types from Melbourne’s deep south-east). This time it’s not about having to walk the same streets of Brighton over and over, but about the alleged soaring crime rates in the area.

Bec Judd — whose husband is reportedly considering a career in state politics — claimed she didn’t feel safe in the suburb because of “rapes, bashings and home invasions at the hands of the gangs in Bayside” on Instagram late last week.

The Premier fact-checked Judd at the weekend and said the crime rates have actually gone down in the area in attempts to reassure her and other residents.

Many Bayside residents have now formed Whatsapp groups to chat about local crime and hire their own private security in the area.

Per news.com.au Bayside-based influencer and lawyer Zana Pali called for a police station to be re-launched in Brighton and claimed break-ins are happening “every second night”.

“We are part of a neighbourhood watch WhatsApp group as we’ve had to take matters into our own hands because we don’t have the assistance,” she said.

“We’ve also organised private security because we do feel unsafe.

“I think it’s unfair that [Bec Judd] has copped backlash, she’s just saying how we all feel and at the end of the day it’s easy to judge, but we are all living in fear.”

Official stats on reported crime rates in the Bayside area contradict these claims from residents. They show that crime is down by 18.8 per cent between 2020 and 2021. Break-ins and burglaries, in particular, have been at the lowest yearly rate in Bayside in 10 years.

A total of 144 of these crimes were reported in Brighton in the last 12 months, which is the second-lowest rate the area has seen.

Premier Andrews also stressed that there has been an increased police presence in the Bayside area. He said the deployment of more than 500 additional cops and 50 protective services officers (PSOs) were included in the state’s May budget.

He hoped that knowledge would reassure Judd and any other residents who have felt unsafe recently.

“I say this respectfully to Bec Judd or anybody: I don’t want anybody to feel unsafe,” he said.

“I’m sorry she feels that way. The data would tell a different story, but it is about personal feelings and your sense of safety. I hope that knowing those things, or perhaps learning those things, puts her mind at ease.”

What we’d give to get an insight into those “neighbourhood watch” Whatsapp groups though, my Lord.


Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

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Image: Getty Images / Sam Tabone / Twitter / @toiletpaperaus1