Over the last few months in my Daily Morning News Wrap, I have noticed an increase in reports about Sudanese Youth Gangs. Over the last week though what came to my attention was one of the Sudanese Community leaders coming out and saying there is a significant problem in Melbourne and then another leader from the same Sudanese Community saying that there is no gang problem as they are just young men who want to go for a walk together.
So I have done a little research and a lot of online reading. One article I read in the Guardian said ‘Victoria is having a debate about gangs. Specifically, it is debating whether it is appropriate to call groups of young people who are predominantly from African backgrounds a “gang” and, so named, what should be done about it.’
Well according to Google a gang is defined as an organised group of criminals.
The Guardian Article written on the 3rd January 2018 went on to say…
On Monday the Prime Minister weighed in, saying at a press conference in Sydney that “growing gang violence and lawlessness in Victoria” was “a failure of the Andrew’s government”.
However, police say that crime from African “street gangs” is an ongoing, not growing, problem, and also that calling these groups “gangs” might be overstating the issue.
There seems to be a growing trend in Australia to hide information from the public or to breathtakingly obviously understate any dangers. It’s like politicians have decided that in the internet age where information is freely available, they are going feed the Australia public some bull crap line in the hope that we are all so hypnotized by our screens that we won’t actually think for ourselves.
I mean you only have to look at the change in the last ten years when it comes to terrorism in Australia. 10 years ago it was ‘Be Alert and not Alarmed’ now it is a lone wolf mental health incident and there is no future danger.
So here is a summary of the various opinions on Sudanese Gangs in Melbourne (and you have to smile at the verbal gymnastics):
1) The Media are certainly reporting on the crimes the Sudanese Gangs are being accused of doing.
The media themselves are reporting incidents like this report:
Concern about crime gangs involving African youths in Melbourne can be traced to the outer eastern suburb of Dandenong in the mid-2000s.
The most recent iteration has its origins in the Moomba festival in March 2016, when a group identified as the Apex gang was named the key culprit in a violent brawl that saw 53 people arrested and 800 people searched for weapons.
It flared up again last month following three significant incidents: a brawl at the St Kilda McDonald’s on 13 December; the trashing of an Airbnb property after a wild party in Werribee on 18 December; and the assault of a police officer who was kicked and surrounded by a group of young people when questioning a suspected shoplifter at Highpoint shopping centre on Boxing Day.
All three involved youths of African appearance and the Werribee house was tagged with “MTS”, a reference to “Menace to Society”, a loosely collected group of Sudanese and other teenagers that has been linked to a number of public order offences over the past six months.
2) Deputy Police Commissioner totally denies there is a gang issue….
Fellow Deputy Police Commissioner said this… he ‘urged the media not to label groups of “young thugs” as “gangs”, saying: “I don’t accept for one minute that we do have gangs.”
3) Community Centre Executive Officer in the areas thinks calling these gangs ‘gangs’ is ludicrous……but at the same time doesn’t deny that there is a crime problem amongst African Migrants…..which is code for gangs are gangs but we must not call these gangs gangs. Why can’t we call them gangs….well then that would be admitting there is a gang problem which clearly there isn’t.
Anthony Kelly, the executive officer of Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre, which covers areas with a significant migrant population, said calling these groups “gangs” was “ludicrous”.
But he said that does not discount the fact that there is a problem of crime in African migrant communities, or discount the seriousness of those crimes.
4) Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton says that on some occasions, a small group of young thugs were behaving like street gangs but they aren’t street gangs….they are just young thugs ‘acting’ like street gangs.
5) Richard Deng a spokesman for the Sudanese Community says they are not gangs but just groups of teenagers ‘just going about in a number’. He went onto say ‘These groups of teenagers are sitting in a park doing nothing and we call them a gang…that is not right’.
6) Matt Dillon, a former Victoria Police chief inspector with more than 30 years in the force, identified in his research paper in 2012 African gangs were running wild and needed to be stopped.
“There is a high level of reported and unreported crime, mainly intimidation, assaults and theft of personal items and cash, associated with these gangs, which has been confirmed by my own observations and consultation with local police, shop traders, licensees and other local stakeholders. This occurs both day and night.
“If the current trend continues and no action is taken at state and local government levels, the street gangs will take over, and shoppers, tourists, diners and party goers will go elsewhere.”
7) Melbourne residents are certainly saying there is a gang issue….This article from the Australian 6th January 2018:-
It was more than just an out-of-control party. Having trashed the rented property, the “guests” — dozens of African youths thought to have visited a basketball tournament earlier that day — spilled outside, pelting rocks at neighbouring properties, trampling cars and smashing windscreens with garden stakes or whatever else they could find.
Residents of the quiet street in Werribee, in Melbourne’s west, cowered inside their homes, terrified as the angry mob’s chants about being out to “get whites” were eventually drowned out by the roar of police helicopters.
The scene, according to witnesses, was warlike. And as bewildered police combed through the mess the next morning, they came across a curious calling card: the letters MTS and APEX scrawled on broken furniture.
While the Apex gang was known to police, having become synonymous with Melbourne’s African gang problem following the Moomba riots almost two years ago, MTS — thought to stand for “Menace to Society” in reference to a 1993 US street gangster film, Menace II Society — was something different.
News of a potentially new gang threat, combined with a recent outbreak of violent robberies and attacks, vandalism and affray by young African men across the city, set off a political storm that has travelled all the way to Canberra.
So here is my conclusion: There clearly is a problem. A problem with the powers that be being honest and telling it like it is. The verbal bendiness of what the police and community leaders are saying is at best entertaining and at worst, alarming. How can we expect issues to be solved when the police, politicians and community leaders can’t even agree if there is indeed a problem? And at the same time, the residents of Melbourne are scared in their own homes.
Anyway that’s what I think.
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