Huge rise in young offenders

More than 800 child and teen offenders were responsible for crimes committed in Wyndham between April 2019 and March this year. 189617_01

By Alesha Capone

Wyndham has recorded the highest rate of youth offenders in Melbourne’s west.

According to the state’s Crime Statistics Agency, 805 offenders aged 10 to 17 years old were responsible for crimes committed in Wyndham between April 2019 and March this year.

There were 507 underage offenders recorded in the area in the previous 12 months.

According to CSA, there were 799 youth offenders in Brimbank in the 12 months to March this year (compared to 516 previously), 528 young offenders in Melton (380 previously), 349 in Maribyrnong (240 previously) and 144 in Hobsons Bay (149 previously).

Out of the 805 youth offenders in Wyndham, 103 youths committed assaults and related offences (87 previously), 126 youths committed robberies (42 previously) and 289 youths committed thefts (152 previously).

An additional 58 youths committed burglaries and break-and-enters in Wyndham (37 previously).

As reported in Star Weekly last month, Victoria Police North West Metro Commander Tim Hansen said police have been deploying extra resources in the west for “a considerable period of time”, in relation to an “ongoing gang issue”.

“We’ve seen an emerging group of 10-to-14-year-olds getting involved in violent crime recently – that does concern me,” Commander Hansen said.

Commander Hansen also expressed concern about youth gangs in Melbourne’s west following the fatal stabbing of a teenager Solomone Taufeulungaki in Deer Park on June 16.

Six youths, including a 13-year-old Hoppers Crossing boy, have been charged with violent disorder and affray following 15-year-old Solomone’s death.

After police established a crime scene at the site of Solomone’s death, several people allegedly broke through the police tape and became engaged in a fight.

Afterwards, a 15-year-old Sunshine boy and a 17-year-old Point Cook boy were arrested and interviewed by police. They were released pending summons for assault-related offences.

Commander Hansen said police monitored sources of intelligence, including social media and public transport routes, to keep an eye on gang activity and planned fights.

“Our area of operations considers from Tarneit across to Keilor,” he said.