The news stories that have caused the debate over African gangs in Melbourne are often anecdotal or citing one-off incidents such as the 200 person brawl in the suburb of Collingwood in 2018 or statistically uncommon home invasions. Many of the African Australian population are young refugees who are seeking asylum in Australia due to ongoing destabilisation in their home country, such as the civil war in South Sudan. Being young and having experienced civil warfare in their home country it is important for Australia to not marginalise or single out these individuals, but try and offer them greater support in acclimatising and integrating.
You may expect levels of crime to be higher in such communities, due to surviving traumatic events or as a result of unemployment, but there is not a clear statistical pattern of this, and there is a distinct lack of relevant detailed statistics being used by those who are perpetuating the debate. From Melbourne’s crime statistics somewhat of a disproportionate amount of the South Sudanese, who make up 0.1% of Mebourne’s population, commit 1% of crimes (and 10% aggravated robberies). These statistics may be slightly over representative for their population but still remain a small part of the overall crime in Melbourne and less than other immigrant populations, such as those from the UK. Considering also that more than half of African migrants reported experiencing some form of discrimination in Australia, especially in regards to contact with the police, the picture becomes increasingly complex.