Focus remains on youth gangs as part of Operation Alliance

Dozens of people linked to youth gangs in Melbourne’s northwest have been the focus of police efforts, as part of an operation which led to 47 arrests earlier this week.

As part of Operation Alliance, police conducted three nights of disruptive activity across the Wyndham, Brimbank and Melton areas in an effort to stop violent offenders in their tracks and engage with those on the fringes of youth gangs at the earliest opportunity.

102 people linked to youth gangs were checked over the weekend, with 31 of those under the age of 18. Nine of these checks led to arrests, indicating the proactive police approach is deterring the majority of gang members from breaching bail and further offending.

Nearly 130 bail compliance checks were performed on people linked to gang activity and other serious offending over three nights, with approximately 55% of people found to be complying with their conditions.

There were also no reported robberies in the Wyndham or Brimbank areas over the three nights, indicating the proactive approach has a strong deterrent on opportunistic offenders.

Between 15 and 18 July, police:

• Arrested 47 people for offences including possession of prohibited weapons, car theft and driving offences.

• Conducted 129 bail compliance checks with police identifying 58 breaches of bail.

• Engaged with over 240 persons of interest in the community, including 102 linked to youth gangs, which has led to greater intelligence holdings to assist future investigations and the ability to disrupt and deter offending.

• Cleared 37 outstanding warrants.

• Conducted two Firearm Prohibition Order searches.

• Highway Patrol units checked over 950 cars through Automatic Numberplate Recognition Technology in an effort to detect stolen cars or numberplates.

• 101 vehicles intercepted by police, which led to six cars being impounded and taken off the roads.

• Five referrals to support agencies to those identified at risk of being influenced into crime, such as younger siblings or associates of persons of interest.

• A further four referrals to low level offenders to support agencies including drug and alcohol support, employment and youth agencies.

Highlights from the weekend activity include:

• Six people arrested on Friday evening after Transit police targeted weapon offences in the vicinity of Watergardens Railway Station. Over 420 checks were conducted and 82 vehicles were intercepted, which led to police seizing one knife and illicit drugs. These targeted searches are run in areas where offending involving weapons, including knives, has previously occurred, and serve as a strong deterrent for offenders who choose to arm themselves with weapons.

• On Saturday evening, police observed a white Jeep Cherokee in Tarneit displaying stolen numberplates. Police made immediate enquiries to determine the vehicle was allegedly stolen during an aggravated burglary in the area on 8 July, and was linked to other burglaries committed in the Wyndham area. The vehicle was tracked by AirWing and local police to Hummingbird Boulevard where the sole occupant of the vehicle fled on foot. Police located the 17-year-old male from Carlton, who was subsequently arrested and charged with car theft, stolen numberplates and driving offences.

The operation was a combined effort from 15 to 18 July involving a range of police teams, including the Brimbank Offender Management Team, Brimbank Divisional Response Unit, Westgate Divisional Response Unit, North West Metro Regional Crime Squad, Gang Crime Squad, VIPER Taskforce and Transit Safety Division.

Quotes attributable to Brimbank Divisional Commander, Superintendent Michael Cruse:

“The proactive approach we have taken in swiftly arresting serious and violent offenders and ensuring those on bail are abiding by their conditions is making in an impact – we are seeing less serious and violent offences by young offenders in these areas.

“Police have a greater line of sight on people associated with youth gangs than ever before. We know who they are, and we know their offending habits.”

“While the patterns of offending are not prominent in the community at the moment, with robberies remaining at low levels, we want to continue to do everything we can to put these youth gangs on notice and disrupt their activities before they impact the community.”

“We do know that we cannot completely arrest our way out of this issue and that is why we continue to intervene early to prevent a young person’s involvement in a life of crime.”

/Public Release. View in full here.