Aussies taking desperate measures to stop car thieves
AFTER a series of high-profile armed home invasions, Melburnians are resorting to desperate measures to keep their possessions safe.
A local bollard retailer Sam Surace told Seven News that thousands of residents have had bright yellow, lockable metal poles installed in front of their driveways - in a bid to stop thieves.
Surace said business was booming because of highly publicised crime in the area.
"Twenty years ago, nobody even thought about a bollard in their garage at home," he told Channel Seven.
"Now, every house is getting them just about."
One of those Melburnians who had bollards put in, Brett Niddrie, told Sunrise that he felt he had no choice.
"The crime is terrible. There are all these gangs kicking around these days and you can't trust anyone," he said.
In one horrific home invasion, which made national headlines earlier this month, a 59-year-old woman was struck across the face as the men smashed her glass door and forced themselves into her Hillside home.
She was forced to sit in her front room as about a dozen men went through her house, stealing electrical items and car keys before they left.
It comes after Andrew Crisp, Victoria Police's Deputy Commissioner, told 7.30 last week that it is common for those who perpetrate home invasions to steal car keys and take the homeowner's vehicle from the driveway.
He added that young people of a Sudanese background were overrepresented in the crime statistics and even said it has become a "crime of choice" for young offenders in Melbourne.
Census data shows people born in Sudan make up about 0.1 per cent of Victoria's population - yet Victoria's Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) data shows that 8.6 per cent of aggravated burglaries in the state are committed by Sudanese youths.
"We've seen Sudanese youth become involved in aggravated burglaries," Crisp told 7.30. "A lot of the time it's to steal keys, so they can steal cars to commit further crimes.
"We've been talking about this for a couple of years now and it's about network offending. "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."
Current affairs commentator Cath Webber told Sunrise that crime in Melbourne was "totally out of control".
"I can't believe we're talking about suburbs in Australia, let alone Melbourne, where this happening," she told the show.
"People have started up Facebook communities because they are so worried about it."
She added that fact that residents were resorting to installing bollards was "insane".
"We shouldn't have to be doing this to feel safe in you own home Australia," she said. "Something needs to be done about it quickly."