With the Australian summer largely dominated by discussion about Victoria’s African Youth Gang Crime after a spate of violent crimes committed by men of African appearance the left and large segments of the media have been claiming it is all a beat up whipped up by race baiting politicians and promoted by those with a racist agenda.
In December last year Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency released the state’s crime statistics for the year ending September 2017 which stated that Victoria’s crime rate dropped by 6.2%. Police Minister Lisa Neville called the statistics encouraging and said this was the biggest drop in crime in a decade. Of course if one looked closer at the crime statistics the offences that are of most concern to Victorians: sexual offences, robberies and dangerous and negligent acts endangering people are all up.
These statistics were released before Victoria’s summer of crime. As public concern crew the statistics were examined more closely particularly crimes committed by those of African background, most specifically Sudanese. The same crime statistics found that those born in Sudan despite making up only 0.1% of Victoria’s population account for 1% of all offences committed in the state. This figure of course does not include those of Sudanese descent born in Australia.
Despite those born in Sudan being overrepresented in the crime statistics it hasn’t stopped the media and left-wing activists complaining that Sudanese-Australians are the victims of a vicious racist campaign. We have seen two Black Lives Matter rallies take place in Melbourne and a public awareness campaign launched to tell Victorians to be nice to Sudanese school children.
Now the Australian Bureau of Statistics has decided to enter the debate with it issuing a media release yesterday titled ‘Youth offender rate falls for the seventh consecutive year‘. It states that between 2009–10 and 2016–17, the rate fell from 3,339 to 2,330 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 17. Nationally there were 54,064 offenders aged 10–17 years old who had proceedings against them by police in 2016–17.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has a whole section on its website dedicated to crime statistics including a state by state breakdown. For Victoria it states in 2016–17 there were 8,280 youth offenders in Victoria, a decrease of 5% (446 offenders) from 2015–16 and that Victoria has the second lowest youth offender rate in the nation.
Overall there 75,860 offenders proceeded against by police in Victoria in 2016–17. This represented a decrease of 3% in Victoria’s crime rate (1,910 offenders), the fourth successive annual decrease. Most of the decrease is from homicide and sexual offences, there was a 13% increase in the vague crime category of offences against justice.
According to findlaw.com offences against justice can include offences against the courts, governing bodies, and public officials (such as lawmakers and police officers). Specific offences include battery against police, evading police and violating parole. The rise in this category correlates with the increases in assaults we have seen on Victoria’s Police and the fact we are seeing repeat offenders obtain parole and bail.
These rose coloured statistics were picked up by mainstream media outlets like Fairfax whose headline was ‘Victoria the safest it’s been for 10 year‘. The ABS statistics while looking good on paper do not go into much detail about the specific nature of offences and most will have noticed they only include offenders proceeded against by police. While Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency includes all recorded criminal incidents. As we know many of the crimes we see reported on the news the perpetrators are never caught or charged by police.
It is also worth noting that nobody claimed that African youth crime was rampant all over Melbourne but is concentrated in the suburbs of Wyndham Vale and Cranbourne and their surrounding areas. A poll of residents in those areas found over a quarter of them said gang violence had affected them or someone they knew in the last year and a majority stated they were less likely to go out at night due to gang violence. It is certainly not fair to people in those areas to claim that these ABS statistics mean there is no problem.
One wonders what the motivation was in Australian Bureau of Statistics issuing this media release given they are supposed to be a neutral government agency. Given that this media release has been seized upon by skeptics of Victoria’s crime wave it will probably have the effect of ensuring there is no meaningful solution implemented anytime soon.