Hundreds arrested in teen gang crackdown
Police have used coronavirus lockdown to arrest more than 250 people and seize guns and swords in dozens of raids carried out in Victoria to crack down on youth street gangs.
Officers executed 88 search warrants over the past month, in suburbs such as Dandenong and Pakenham in the southeast and Deer Park and Caroline Springs in the west.
Overall, 251 arrests were made, with 70 people remanded in custody, on charges ranging from armed robbery, aggravated burglary, conduct endangering life and car theft to firearm and drug offences.
Other weapons seized in the raids included tomahawks, knives, tasers and swords.
The raids, conducted as part of Operation Alliance, started on September 13, with the aim to prevent, disrupt and dismantle youth street gangs.
Gangs have been blamed for robberies, aggravated burglaries, serious assaults, car thefts, and home invasions across greater Melbourne and beyond.
The large majority of people arrested were males aged between their mid-teens and mid-twenties.
Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations Rick Nugent said Operation Alliance would continue in its crack down.
"Operation Alliance uses an integrated and co-ordinated approach to tackling youth gangs in every region, division and police service area across the state," he said.
"We anticipated Operation Alliance would be successful and that has proved to be the case early on, with multiple arrests and seizures of dangerous items, such as firearms and other weapons, in the operation's first month."
The task force was made up of local officers working alongside several specialist units including Crime Command, Intelligence and Covert Support Command and the Transit Safety Division to target youth gangs across Melbourne and also Geelong.
Mr Nugent said youth gangs aren't solely restricted to offending in their local neighbourhood and have no qualms travelling across Melbourne, or through regional Victoria, to commit further crimes.
"We are using and sharing real-time intelligence to not only remain one step ahead of offenders to prevent further crimes from occurring, but to also identify and target the key influencers within these groups," he said.
"We make no apologies for targeting the individuals who commit the most serious and violent crimes in our community, whether that's through arrests, bail compliance checks, proactive patrols in known hot spots, or issuing FPOs."
Originally published as Hundreds arrested in teen gang crackdown