We have written frequently on The Unshackled about the problem of violent crime and a lack of justice in the state of Victoria. Crime frequency spikes have occurred during the past three Melbourne summers, and it returned again for a second winter wave despite the coronavirus lockdown.
This summary report of youth gang crime in the Melbourne winter of 2020 is part of our series articles exploring aspects of Victoria’s violent crime problem and the inadequate law and order response.
During the past three Melbourne summers, a young gang crime wave has swept the city with home invasions, carjackings, gang fights and beach robberies and assaults.
But beginning in 2019 a winter youth gang crime wave occurred. After all, gangs and criminals don’t have an offseason, the difference being during the winter these groups don’t venture to the beachsides of Melbourne.
Policing in Victoria has been very different this year. With Dan Andrews using a police state response to contain the coronavirus it has seen Victoria Police doling out fines for people meeting up, being out of the house or not wearing a mask. Writing out a penalty infringement notices is much less taxing work than chasing youth gang members who can be violent are much harder to apprehend.
When Melbourne came out of its first lockdown and was semi-open from mid-May until early June we saw the return of Melbourne’s youth gangs with gang attacks returning to the headline news.
On June 16th 15 year old Solomone Taufeulungaki was stabbed to death by a youth gang outside Brimbank Shopping Centre at Deer Park in Melbourne’s West. Nine teenagers and two adults have been subsquently charged with murder
On Sunday June 14 a white girl 16-year-old girl was attacked by 8 girls of African appearance at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station.
On June 23 a young gang brawl broke out at Sunbury train station in Melbourne’s North West. It involved over a 100 youths and local police struggled to contain the violence, the brawl was triggered by police questioning an 18 year old in the area over anti-social behaviour.
But the second lockdown, including the stage 4 restrictions did not mean that youth gangs stayed at home. It should hardly be a shock that criminals including youth gangs didn’t obey the lockdown nor listen to what Dan Andrews says in his daily press conferences. Youth gang crime and violence including home invasions and carjackings continued throughout the dark Melbourne winter of 2020.
As Melbourne was on its road out of lockdown Deputy Police Commissioner Rick Nugent confessed that Victoria Police was losing the fight against youth gang crime. Nugent told Radio 3AW that Victoria Police had this year 42 youth gangs which they “know are causing harm”. It was a significant change in language from a Victoria Police Commissioner as the force has previously denied the existence of youth gangs.
The annual figures Crime Statistics Agency revealed that in 2019-20 there 19,783 alleged offender incidents among 10 to 17-year-olds, up from 18,150 from 2018-19.
Victoria Police launched Operation Alliance on September 13 by October 17 had made 251 arrests. After the winter crime wave of 2019 Victoria Police undertook a similar crackdown on youth gang crime titled Operation Liege.
As Melbourne now opens up and looks at a covid normal summer the youth gangs will once again return in numbers, particularly to beachside areas. In his first interview as the New Police Commissioner Shane Patton stated that police expect a crime surge once second lockdown is relaxed.
On the first day of Melbourne being reopened a 15-year old boy was bashed in broad daylight by a gang of 10-15 youths outside Westfield Doncaster. He had to be rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital and has been placed in an induced coma due to servere head injuries. Police at this stage do not know if this was a “targeted or random attack” but have increased patrols in the area.
Victoria Police are right to anticipate a return of youth crime gangs this summer, that has been sadly normal now in Melbourne. If Victoria Police wish to win back much of the respect they have lost with brute enforcement of Dan’s lockdowns, including charging protest organisers with incitement then switching back to chasing real violent criminals would be a step towards that.
It is a plus that Victoria Police now acknowledge that youth crime gangs are real. But as long as Victoria Police are directed by a far-left state government that will be a hindrance on their efforts to tame rampant youth gang crime.