By Alesha Capone
Police have expressed concern about youth gangs in Melbourne’s west following the fatal stabbing of a teenager in Deer Park last week.
Six youths, including a 13 year-old Hoppers Crossing boy, have been charged with violent disorder and affray, after the death of 15 year-old Solomone Taufeulungaki on Tuesday, June 16.
Speaking to the media afterwards, 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 the “ongoing gang issue”.
“We are acutely aware of the risk these street gangs present to us,” Commander Hansen said.
Star Weekly understands gangs active in the west include the Blood Drill Killers (BDK), Squad Shit Only (SSO), Black Belly Gang (BBG), Brotherhood (BH), 97 and M37.
Last month, police charged 15 teenagers and young adults in relation to an alleged brawl which occurred at a Hoppers Crossing carpark.
Up to 40 people allegedly took part in the brawl, which resulted in a 17 year-old being hospitalised with stab wounds.
The Age newspaper reported the brawl was allegedly caused by rising tensions between Brotherhood and BBG.
Commander Hansen said that under Operation Liege, police across the state have arrested more than 250 young offenders for “high-harm, high-impact offending and gang-related behaviour” in the past eight to nine months.
“We’ve seen an emerging group of 10 to 14 year olds getting involved in violent crime recently – that does concern me,” he said.
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.
“We know that the kids that are talking online and spreading information come from as far away as Point Cook, come from as far away as Melton and come from as far away as Footscray.”
Commander Hansen said police were working with the Department of Education and Training to see what security measures might need to be implemented at schools, if further affrays or attacks occurred.