Originally published on The City Journal (5 October 2015)
In July 2012, Joel got a call from his sister he will never forget – she had just escaped a terrifying abduction in her Melbourne home.
Today, abduction rates in the city have climbed by more than 50 per cent in five years, according to Victoria Police statistics.
Melbourne is now the state’s kidnapping capital, with a 51 per cent increase in abduction related offences – including attempted abduction and child stealing – between April 2010 and March 2015.
Rates of abduction across Victoria have also risen by 40 per cent over the same period. Last financial year, there were 689 kidnappings or attempted kidnappings in the state, up from 461 in 2011.
Forty-nine of those offences occurred in Melbourne, which also saw Victoria’s highest rate of crime overall.
But the current rate of abduction at 37.7 offences per 100,000 Melburnians is by no means a cause for panic, according to a constable at Melbourne West police station.
“They could be increasing but I haven’t personally heard any reports of abductions in the city,” the constable said.
Further Victoria Police data reveals that most abductions occur in the home. Between 2011 and 2015, kidnapping offences in residential dwellings leapt by 62 per cent state-wide.
And their toll on victims and their families is often devastating.
Joel says that while his sister was lucky to survive her attack in 2012 relatively unharmed, three years on, she is still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“She survived but it completely derailed her life,” he tells City Journal.
By Sherryn Groch