Melbourne’s newest wave of young criminals are some of the state’s “most active and dangerous” who are increasingly violent and seeking notoriety, police say.
Forty young people were arrested today as part of a state crackdown on youth crime, and charged with a number of offences, including carjackings, home invasions and street robberies.
Some of the teenagers are accused of ‘swarming’ offences, which involve large groups of young people entering retail stores, ripping products from display units and fleeing.
Warrants were executed in Melbourne’s south-east and west, including the suburbs of Cranbourne, Dandenong, Lara, Norlane, Narre Warren, Pakenham, Reservoir, Sunshine and Truganina.
North West Metro Region Commander Tim Hansen said those arrested on Monday were “the most active and dangerous offenders we have”.
“Many on our list seek public notoriety or want to be lauded for their action,” Mr Hansen said.
“These youths are different because they go from having no criminal record to committing high-harm crimes. It’s unheard of in youth offending.”
The youths, most aged between 15 and 21, were “very well networked” on social media and generally planned to strike to cause the most harm they could, police allege.
Mr Hansen said those arrested had “little fear” of authority and the criminal justice system.
“We put a lot of components to these offenders on conditional bail, we give them an opportunity … and some of the conditional bail relates to curfew,” Mr Hansen told radio station 3AW.
“We find high rates of non-compliance with curfew.”
The arrests form part of Operation Liege, which was established in July to share intelligence across police borders as part of crackdown on serious crime.