Victoria Police is heralding the success of Operation Trinity, following the recovery of more than 1000 stolen vehicles since the start of 2024 in three high-risk areas.

    Between January and June 2024, 1005 stolen vehicles have been recovered in Victoria, with Victoria Police reporting almost half of these were taken from Greater Dandenong, Cardinia and Casey.

    The circa-1000 vehicles are valued at an estimated $30.6 million. That works out to be an average of around $30,000 each, which may seem like relatively low value, but the thefts are reportedly driven by young joyriders rather than those seeking financial gain.

    This is despite a number of high-price vehicles such as Porsches, Range Rovers, Jaguars and Maseratis being recovered, driving up the average value.

    Since Operation Trinity began one year ago, Victoria Police has made more than 1400 arrests relating to burglaries and car thefts.

    83.8 per cent of arrested offenders are under 25 years old, with 64.5 per cent below the age of 18.

    Of the three south-east Melbourne regions, Casey has been highlighted as a major hotspot for vehicle theft, with 468 of the 1005 recovered cars found there – as well as 411 from Dandenong and 126 from Cardina.

    According to police intelligence, more than half of all vehicle thefts occur on residential streets and public locations, especially train stations and shopping centre carparks.

    As part of Operation Trinity, Victoria Police rosters an additional 70 officers each night, which includes Highway Patrol members, the Dog Squad, Public Order Response Team, and Air Wing.

    It recovered 1420 vehicles between July and December 2023 alone, understood to account for 94 per cent of all vehicles which were reported as stolen during aggravated burglaries in Melbourne.

    “We know that Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia are the worst dumping grounds in the state for stolen vehicles, and that’s why we are watching these areas – and offenders – like a hawk,” said Acting Superintendent Andy McKee, Deputy Police Commander for Operation Trinity.

    “We are generally not seeing cars stolen for profit – youth and child offenders are targeting particular high-end vehicles to joyride at high speeds across the city.

    “Police hold strong concerns around young children with little to no formal driving experience behind the wheel of stolen vehicles on the roads and putting innocent motorists in harm’s way.

    “That is why we are targeting this offending every single night as part of Operation Trinity, which has led to the arrest of over 1400 burglars and car thieves in the past year.

    “On top of arresting these offenders, we are recovering stolen vehicles every single day and returning them to their rightful owners.

    “To those who commit these crimes, you expect to see us at any hour of the day and night; we are here waiting to hold you to account.”

    Victoria Police has advised residents to lock their cars, remove valuables, and park in garages, if possible.

    MORE: Police tackling Victorian car theft hotspot

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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