Victorian crime figures

Pollies Pushing Gang Crime Stories

African gang crimes are apparently a violent epidemic playing out on Victorian streets and homes.

So far in 2018, Peter Dutton has claimed that Melbournians are afraid to go out and eat at night due to these ‘gangs’. This blew up in his face, as baffled Melbournites on Twitter took photos of themselves eating out that night, using the hashtag: #melbournebitesback.

Even more shocking was that at one stage, Liberal MP Craig Kelly thought it would be a good idea to put up signs warning people of the dangers they faced in Victoria, as they enter the state from New South Wales.

Victoria has a state population of six million people, with 4.5 million living in greater Melbourne. Those born in Sudan only make up 0.1% of the population; that’s only 6,000 people. And they only make up 1.4% of alleged offenders in Victoria in 2017. In 2016, only 807 of 81,000 alleged offenders were Sudanese-born.

Now, that doesn’t mean that Sudanese-born Victorians aren’t committing a disproportionate amount of violent crimes.

The ABC reported statistics from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency that 2017 saw Sudanese-born youth between the ages of 10–18 allegedly commit 3% of serious assaults within the state. They were also allegedly involved in 8.6% of aggravated burglaries. That’s 0.1% of a particular group committing 8.6% of aggravated burglaries.

Yet these stats only include Sudanese-born people that were linked by police to these crimes. They may not have been charged or found guilty.

Criminologist Rebecca Wickes told the ABC:

We have a very skewed age distribution within the Sudanese population

There certainly is some over-representation

But it’s important to also keep in mind that we’re talking about a very small number of offences and a very small number of offenders, when you think about the large population of Victoria and the extent to which Victoria has an over-representation of minority groups.’ 

The stats don’t lie

Furthermore, youth crime is the lowest it’s been in 10 years, down 40%. And Victoria’s crime rate has been declining for the last four years. The only state or territory lower than Victoria in crime rates is the ACT!

The facts and figures just don’t add up to what pollies like Dutton, Kelley and even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are preaching about youth crime committed by Sudanese gangs in Melbourne.

Mr Turnbull stated on ABC’s 7.30 program in January that, ‘We are very concerned at the growing gang violence and lawlessness in Melbourne.’

This isn’t a partisan issue, either. Both sides of politics are eager to expand the nanny state, with supposed security issues as the excuse. Enforcing tougher laws and ever more invasive surveillance.

They’ve done that in Sydney already, where you’re unable to get into a pub after 1am due to lock out bans.

The pollies have fallen into the trap set by tabloids, believing everything they read.

It’s astounding, really. Melbourne has recently been named one of the top five safest cities in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. And Time Out’s City Life Index voted it the ‘happiest city’. On top of all of that, The Economist, in 2017, named Melbourne the ‘world’s most liveable city’ for the seventh year in a row.

While the Andrews state government have claimed there isn’t much of an issue, that hasn’t stopped them from ramping up law and order in the state. They’ve passed tough new gun laws allowing for warrantless searches of anyone on a ‘prohibition order’, and ordered more prison construction.

The non-issue of African street gangs has been overhyped by the media, and our pollies. But why? They have to have seen the figures disproving a Victorian crime wave.

We’ve been told to believe that there are serious crime issues in the state, and that we need more surveillance and security.

But do we really? Increased fear and paranoia helps the state convince you that you need more of it. More politicians, more police, more surveillance…and fewer civil rights.

Before you start believing our pollies and the mainstream media, have a look at the facts and figures to see if what they are telling you is the truth. You may be unpleasantly surprised.

Alana Sumic

Alana Sumic

Alana Sumic is an editor and writer for The Australian Tribune. She has a Bachelor of Arts from La Trobe University and a Masters in Publishing and Editing from Monash University.

She specialises in national and international politics and current affairs. She’s passionate about delivering the unfiltered stories that matter to you, on all topics.

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