For some young people, a shared identity built around crime and violence results in an escalating pattern of gang-related offending.
The rise in aggravated burglaries, home invasions, carjacking and street robberies over recent years by networked youth groups has led to a new era of linked serious crime. This behaviour is often associated with a background in or exposure to substance or alcohol abuse.
Today’s youth gangs are mobile, connected and prolific on social media. They seek notoriety and the thrill and excitement of violence and antisocial behaviour. Armed with sharp weapons and firearms, we see rival gang violence in our streets and neighbourhoods.
The issues that lead to the formation of youth gangs cannot be addressed by a single policing response. We must work together to address the factors pushing these youths into this type of offending through engaging with our partners and community.
For instance, we are seeing an increase in young girls involved in violent gang behaviour. This will require a different, collaborative response that addresses their serious and violent offending, but can also adapt when offending patterns and methods change.
Youth gang-related offending in Victoria is on the rise.
In 2021-2022 crimes linked to youth gangs alone included:
- 4 murders
- 226 aggravated burglaries
- 239 robberies and armed robberies
- 387 car thefts
- 389 assaults
- 221 prohibited or controlled weapon offences.
Reviewed 27 July 2023