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57 kids charged as police crack down on gangs

Fifty-seven youths have been arrested and police are warning of more co-ordinated raids as part of an unprecedented crackdown on youth crime.

It’s all the result of a new cross-border intelligence-sharing that’s enabled police to create a list of youths suspected of gang-related crimes, including carjackings, home invasions and ‘swarming’ offences.

Yesterday, the three-month Operation Liege stepped up a notch.

40 youths were taken into custody as officers carried out raids in several suburbs including Dandenong, Reservoir, Sunshine and as far as Lara and Norlane.

All have been charged, although some have already been released on bail.

Victoria Police Commander Tim Hansen said many of those charged are known to each other.

“There’s certainly very strong evidence that they are connected and networked both across social media but also in day-to-day life,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

Mr Hansen said the youths seek to be recognised for their brazen crimes.

“They go from no offending to very violent offending quite quickly,” he said.

“They actively seek notoriety and recognition and so, for that reason, they take very little precautions in relation to hiding their identity.”

Press PLAY below for more from Tim Hansen.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said there are many more young offenders who are still to be charged.

“We’ve got more than 200 of these youth offenders that we’re focusing on, that we really regard as core offenders,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“There’s a core group that simply don’t want to change their behaviour.

“We will be treating them as the sort of offenders they are.”

Further raids are planned between now and the end of the year as police work their way down the list of known offenders.

The youths arrested are a mix of caucasian, African, Pacific Islander and Asian backgrounds, predominantly from the south-eastern and western suburbs of the city.

Mr Ashton said he believes there many be a need for a new offence which distinguishes violent swarming from other less aggressive shop thefts.

Press PLAY below for more from Graham Ashton.

Image: Victoria Police

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