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Victoria Police crime data shows youth crime on rise in Melbourne

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New statistics have revealed the shocking rise in youth crime across Victoria, with authorities confirming on Thursday the demographic remains a “big focus”.

Victoria Police, in their annual release of crime statistics, revealed that 10-17 year olds were responsible for slightly under 17000 incidents in the 12 months to September, an increase of 8.6 per cent.

Confirmation of the steep rise comes as police charged two teens, 16 and 17, with affray and violent disorder as part of the homicide investigation into the alleged fatal stabbing of Hashim Mohamed, 18, in St Kilda earlier this month.

Eight boys, the youngest being 13, are still to stand trial over the alleged murder of 16-year-old Declan Cutler in Coburg in March.

“A significant portion of this offending, including the most serious offences, is connected to youth gangs and police understand the concern felt by the community when gang-related violence unfolds in public,” police said on Thursday.

“Our commitment to the community is to continue to target youth offenders who commit serious and violent crimes.”

Victoria Police’s Operation Alliance had arrested 430 youth gang members this year, resulting in nearly 3000 charges, police said.

“As part of Operation Alliance, we will continue to relentlessly pursue, disrupt and dismantle the state’s worst youth gangs,” police said.

Despite the steep rise in youth crime, overall offending was down by more than 4 per cent, according to the data.

While there were 3772 less family violence-related incidents, assault offences rose by just above 1 per cent.

Another of the few crime categories to increase was dangerous and negligent acts endangering people, which police said was “predominantly driven” by an increase of 392 dangerous driving offences over the year.

Deputy Commissioner for Regional Operations, Rick Nugent, said it was “really pleasing” to see overall crime fall.

But he warned police expected the numbers to rise as the state “moves further away from the pandemic”.

“Unfortunately, all offending cannot be prevented and when serious crimes occur, we will respond and ensure that those response are arrested as soon as possible,” Mr Nugent said.

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