Aggravated burglary has become the “crime of choice” for Sudanese youths in Melbourne, Australia, according to senior police officers.
The state of Victoria, where Melbourne is the regional capital, is home to 6,000 Sudanese migrants, accounting for just 0.1 per cent of the population — yet Sudan-born youths account for some 8.6 per cent of aggravated burglaries and are helping to drive the African gang crime wave gripping the country, reports news.com.au.
“We’ve seen Sudanese youth become involved in aggravated burglaries,” admits Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp.
“A lot of the time it’s to steal keys, so they can steal cars to commit further crimes. It has become the crime of choice for this particular group.”
The police chief said it was his belief that the home invasions were not being driven by “an organised gang in terms of any organisation and structure”, but rather by a phenomenon he called “network offending”.
He explained: “So, it’s not that you’ve got a core group of six, generally young, men committing crime over a number of nights.
“What we have seen is that you might see half a dozen involved in an aggravated burglary, steal a car and commit some further offences that night.
“The next night, you might have two of those offenders, but there could be three or four new ones that have come from other parts of Melbourne — networking through social media.”
Statistics for the year to September 2017 show Sudanese in Victoria are not just overrepresented for home invasions.
Figures reported by the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation — analogous to Britain’s BBC — show Sudanese migrants were involved in 3 per cent of serious assaults, 2 per cent of non-aggravated burglaries, and 5 per cent of motor vehicle thefts.
It should be noted that these figures are not inclusive of second- or third-generation Sudanese in Victoria, but only first-generation migrants.
The broadcaster attempted to play down the statistics, however, quoting criminologist Rebecca Wickes as complaining that Sudanese migrants tend to be younger than the general population, and it is not fair to compare them to Australians.
Wickes suggested the real problem was a “significant and very worrisome bias” against African migrants among the general population, adding: “Frankly I think that that’s where we should be focusing our attention.”