Worried about gang crime? Depends where you live


Sick and tired of constant “nailing it”, two weeks ago the Golden Logie winner Waleed Aly instead “slammed” Malcolm Turnbull and took “a savage swipe at politicians” over the issue of African gangs in Melbourne:

“What’s interesting is I have lived in Melbourne and the only place I have heard concerns about Sudanese gangs is on talkback radio where the PM made those comments,” Aly said on Thursday night.


Aly joked that he had also started to get “concerned” about African gangs, “mainly because I am of African heritage. If there really are a bunch of African gangs, frankly I am offended to not have at least been joined to join one”.

It might be because Waleed and his wife Susan Carland live in a $2.1 “cute cottage” in Richmond.  Perhaps Waleed should get out more.

For example to the western suburbs seat of Tarneit and Cranbourne in south-east, both held by Labor, where in January, so before the most recent controversies, ReachTEL has conducted some polling for the Melbourne “Age”:

Voters in two key outer Melbourne electorates say resoundingly that crime involving African youths has spiked in the last year, and more than half identify law and order as their biggest concern.

Which might have been an uncomfortable message for “The Age” to hear.

In more detail:

When thinking about which party to vote for, how important is the issue of managing crime and anti-social behaviour? 82.7% in Cranbourne and 85.2% in Tarneit.

Thinking about the previous 12 months, do you believe youth crime has increased, decreased or stayed about the same? 77.3% in Cranbourne say it has increased, and 76.3% in Tarneit (they probably all listen to talkback radio instead of watching “The Project).

Do you believe the main issues with youth crime concerns gangs of African origin? 66.8% say yes in Cranbourne and 70% in Tarneit.

Are you less likely to go out at night than you were 12 months ago, because of the threat of gang violence? 55.2% in Cranbourne are less likely and 62.1% in Tarneit (yet, when back in July, Peter Dutton said that Melbournians are scared to go out to restaurants at night he was laughed at and Greens MP Adam Bandt told him he is not welcome in Melbourne. Maybe Brandt, like Aly, should get out more too, or at least read the local newspapers).

And finally:

Have you or anyone you know been the victim of gang violence in the past 12 months? 27.2% said yes in Cranbourne and 33.9% said yes in Tarneit. That’s one in three people in this Labor electorate who have been victimised or know someone who has. If only they could all move to Richmond and be blissfully unaware of the whole issue of gangs.

Once again we have a vast abyss separating the inner city from the rest of the world. As I have written before, it’s easy enough to be conspicuously virtuous about immigration and multiculturalism when, to borrow from the former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, it means “reading Rushdie in a Thai restaurant”, which seems to be typical inner city experience. But the costs and benefits of a generous immigration intake are not spread evenly, and those most enamoured with the concepts of “diversity” and “compassion” are often the ones least affected by the social, economic, religious and infrastructure tensions and dislocations that spring up when too much emphasis is put on immigration and not enough on successful integration.

Aly and Brandt might indeed be reading Rushdie in a Thai restaurant in Richmond, but people in Cranbourne and Tarneit are too afraid to go out to their local Thai restaurant lest they add to between a quarter and a third of locals with a direct or indirect experience of gang violence. Salman Rushdie, meanwhile, is still living under a 24-hour police protection, something that would arguably also benefit the Cranbourne and Tarneit residents.