Melbourne: African gang violence in the suburbs out to “get whites”

Melbourne: African gang violence in the suburbs out to “get whites”, by Rebecca Urban.

It was more than just an out-of-control party. Having trashed the rented property, the “guests” — dozens of African youths thought to have visited a basketball tournament earlier that day — spilled outside, pelting rocks at neighbouring properties, trampling cars and smashing windscreens with garden stakes or whatever else they could find.

Residents of the quiet street in Werribee, in Melbourne’s west, cowered inside their homes, terrified as the angry mob’s chants about being out to “get whites” were eventually drowned out by the roar of police helicopters.

The scene, according to witnesses, was warlike. And as bewildered police combed through the mess the next morning, they came across a curious calling card: the letters MTS and APEX scrawled on broken furniture.

While the Apex gang was known to police, having become synonymous with Melbourne’s African gang problem following the Moomba riots almost two years ago, MTS — thought to stand for “Menace to Society” in reference to a 1993 US street gangster film, Menace II Society — was something different.

News of a potentially new gang threat, combined with a recent outbreak of violent robberies and attacks, vandalism and affray by young African men across the city, set off a political storm that has travelled all the way to Canberra. …

One veteran police officer, based in Melbourne’s west, the heartland of recent criminal activity, tells Inquirer …: “The reality is we do have an issue with groups of young men, who largely come from Sudanese backgrounds, who are absolutely obsessed with American gang culture — the music, the clothing the lifestyle, the language — and they’re running around town acting exactly like a gang.” …

Big mistake, but will anyone own up to it?

Law enforcement authorities have been talking down public concerns about African refugees and crime for more than a decade, coinciding with dramatic growth in the numbers of Sudanese coming to Australia under the humanitarian intake program.

According to the latest census data, more than 20,000 Australian residents were born in Sudan, with 11,422 settling across Greater Melbourne, mainly in the southeastern suburbs (including Dandenong, Noble Park, Springvale and Doveton) and in the west (St Albans, Deer Park, Sunshine West, Werribee and Tarneit).

Back in 2007, following a move by the federal government to cut the number of African refugees admitted into Australia over integration concerns, Victoria’s police chief commissioner at the time, Christine Nixon, defended the community, claiming that Sudanese refugees were convicted of fewer crimes per capita than the general Victorian population. …

Sudanese and South Sudanese leaders have lamented the influence on their young men of American rap and hip-hop music, with its origins as the voice of poor and under-represented African-Amer­i­can youth and its frequently violent narratives.

What’s next? Demands for reparations over slavery?

Melbourne tennis players ‘intimidated by gang of youths’, by Samantha Hutchinson.

A Melbourne tennis club has urged its members to be vigilant when playing at night and has contacted Tennis Australia to spread the message after a group of players were abused and intimidated by a gang of teenagers last Thursday.

The Essendon Tennis Club has warned its members to take their own personal safety seriously and contacted nearby clubs after a gang of 14 teenagers of African appearance threatened players at the Clifton Park Reserve on December 28. …

Club chairperson Rhys Collins told The Australian that no members were hurt during the altercation, but had been left rattled and worried for their safety. … But no charges were laid because no one was hurt.