A series of crimes in the Australian state of Victoria have shaken residents and put authorities on alert. Five fatal shootings have occurred in the state this month, leading some to question whether the violence represents the beginnings of a gang war. Clive Small, the former New South Wales Assistant Commissioner and a veteran police officer observed that, “violence across the border seems to be on the rise.”
The first shooting took place in Dandenong, where the victim was found in a car which had been showered in bullets. This was followed by the murders of two further men in a single night, found approximately five hundred meters apart. The fourth victim was shot at an organised boxing match, with two bystanders taken to hospital with injuries caused by the spray of bullets. The match was rumoured to have been attended by a number of high-profile individuals known to be associated with criminal activity. Two of the three suspects have been apprehended, with one remaining on the run. The fifth and most recent victim was shot on Springvale Road at Springvale, having allegedly posted on social media that he was going to be shot. A police taskforce aimed at combating gang violence, known as Echo Taskforce, has taken over investigations
Young gang members clash at festival
The Moomba Festival held in Melbourne this long weekend has also attracted gang activity, despite assurances to the public that the event was safe and family-friendly. The event has a history of attracting unsociable behaviour, and on Saturday night hundreds of teenage rival gang members congregated for organised fights which kept around 150 police officers occupied in attempts to control the youths and maintain public safety. While Victorian police continue to reassure residents that the state is not seeing an increase in crime, residents are concerned.